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Southwest Airlines Adds Routes in California, Spreads Globally

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In a bid to expand further, Southwest Airlines Company (LUV - Free Report) announced the addition of new routes from cities in California as well as launch of international service in key cities.

The Dallas, TX-based low-cost carrier plans to add 19 new routes from California Cites, increasing frequency to the existing 27. The carrier will also introduce a nonstop service to Cancun, Mexico from Columbus, OH and New Orleans, LA.

The nonstop international service will be offered on Saturdays connecting the California cities of San Jose and Sacramento with San Jose del Cabo/Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. Scheduled to begin from Mar 10 next year, the service is awaiting government approval.

Additionally, the airline will operate nonstop services on Saturdays and Sundays between San Diego and Puerto Vallarta only to build on the existing daily international flights between San Diego and San Jose del Cabo/Cabo San Lucas. This service is also anticipated to start on Mar 10, 2018.

Travelers can enjoy daily nonstop services starting Apr 8, 2018 between Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville besides connecting Sacramento to Austin and St. Louis plus San Francisco with Austin. Daily nonstop flights will also operate from San Jose to Boise, Houston, St. Louis and Spokane. The airline will ply three daily flights on the Fort Lauderdale-Jacksonville route.

Additionally, the carrier will operate flights connecting Orlando from San Jose and Sacramento, beginning May 6, 2018.

The carrier also announced plans to add a nonstop service on seasonal basis between Cancun and Columbus along with New Orleans.

Commencing on Apr 14, 2018, this service is pending government approval and will be available only on Saturdays.

The airline also announced returning seasonal nonstop routes across the country. The carrier will operate daily between Houston and Portland, while on weekends, between Denver and Charleston. This service will be effective from Apr 8, 2018. Further, the airline will offer a weekly service on the Saturdays, connecting Albuquerque-Orlando and Kansas City-Pensacola, initiating Apr 14, next year.

Low-fare tickets are currently available for the flights through Jun 1, 2018.
Southwest Airlines still expects available seat miles (ASM) to grow less than 4% in the first half of 2018. However, for full year 2018, the company anticipates ASM to increase less than the 2016 year-over-year ASM rise of 5.7%.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Southwest Airlines currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in airline space are Air France-KLM SA (AFLYY - Free Report) , Deutsche Lufthansa AG and SkyWest, Inc. (SKYW - Free Report) , each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Shares of Air France-KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa surged more than 100% in a year, while SkyWest shares rallied 22.2% over the same time period.

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