Southwest Airlines and subsidiary AirTran Airways have revised their upcoming summer and fall flight schedules to allow Southwest to begin service to Akron-Canton Airport (CAK) and Dayton International Airport (DAY) in Ohio, beginning on August 12.
Parent carrier Southwest Airlines’ schedule at Akron-Canton will offer two daily round-trips to its sizable operation at Chicago Midway Airport and one daily round-trip to Denver. The airline will begin service to Dayton with one daily flight to Denver.
Dallas-based Southwest’s service in both markets will complement AirTran Airways’ existing service at Akron-Canton and Dayton. AirTran’s service will continue, and the airlines say they will jointly determine the best time to convert all of AirTran’s flying to Southwest operations.
Southwest Airlines also announced it will transition AirTran’s operation at Des Moines International Airport (DSM) in Iowa to a Southwest operation, with Southwest assuming all flying at the airport. Beginning on September 30, Southwest will operate two round-trips a day between Des Moines and Chicago Midway Airport.
The carrier says it chose to begin service to CAK, DSM, and DAY to allow these markets to realize the benefits of the Southwest network, connecting them to large Southwest operations such as Chicago Midway and Denver.
On January 20, Southwest and AirTran confirmed Southwest Airlines would continue operations at 22 AirTran markets where Southwest does not currently operate.
In addition to DAY, CAK, and DSM, the markets that will eventually join the Southwest route map include Flint, Michigan (FNT); Rochester, New York (ROC); Pensacola, Florida (PNS); Charlotte, North Carolina (CLT); Richmond, Virginia (RIC); Key West, Florida (EYW); and Washington, D.C. (DCA).
Other AirTran markets that will joint Southwest’s network are Memphis, Tennessee (MEM); Wichita, Kansas (ICT); Branson, Missouri (BKG); Portland, Maine (PWM); and Grand Rapids, Michigan (GRR).
AirTran international and overseas markets which will be taken over by Southwest Airlines include Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (PUJ); Cancun, Mexico (CUN); Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ); Aruba (AUA); San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU); Bermuda (BDA); and Nassau in The Bahamas (NAS).
Southwest says it will continue to make service announcements over the next several years as it solidifies plans for service to these additional cities, subject to labor negotiations.
Additionally, Southwest Airlines has also announced it will begin new seasonal flying between St. Louis and Panama City Beach, and between Portland, Oregon and Austin, with one daily round-trip each beginning on June 3.
Effective the same day, the airline also will add an extra seasonal daily round-trip on two routes, between Boston and St. Louis and between Dallas Love Field and Austin.
Finally, AirTran’s new schedule includes additional frequencies from Atlanta to markets such as Baltimore/Washington, Houston Hobby, Chicago Midway, Denver, and Los Angeles.
Southwest and AirTran are making the changes to continue aligning the two carriers’ networks following Southwest’s acquisition of AirTran in May 2011. The airline says it saw opportunities throughout the summer schedule to improve aircraft utilization and make adjustments to both flight schedules.