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Southwest plans for DIA growth

Old 01-02-2006, 05:43 AM
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Default Southwest plans for DIA growth

Article Last Updated: 1/01/2006 02:20 AM

Southwest carries plans for DIA growth

By Kelly Yamanouchi
Denver Post Staff Writer

When Southwest Airlines comes to Denver on Tuesday, it will offer 13 daily nonstop flights to and from Chicago, Las Vegas and Phoenix. That's small potatoes at an airport that hosts more than 500 departures a day, but Southwest has plans to grow.

"If we could double from 13 to 26 (departures a day), I think that would be a real healthy sign in a year," Southwest's chief executive Gary Kelly said in October.

Could that happen?

It's anybody's guess, Kelly admitted, but Southwest is known for some unprecedented successes. Counting Denver, it flies to 62 cities, and at some, it has a major presence.

At Las Vegas, for example, it makes more than 200 daily departures. In contrast, it has only 15 a day at Omaha. But its growth in Philadelphia has become almost legendary.

The carrier began there with 14 flights in May 2004. "We quickly added 14 more," Kelly said, "and we quickly added 14 more again." Just 18 months later, it is Philadelphia's No. 2 carrier with 53 daily departures.

Overall traffic at the airport also has grown and fares have dropped, a phenomenon that has come to be known as "the Southwest effect."

"We grew more quickly than we had in any other city," said Southwest spokeswoman Paula Berg. "All the stars were lined up for that kind of outcome."

Kelly agrees, calling the Philadelphia growth "the fastest ramp-up of flight activity we've ever had. It seems unlikely that we would grow that fast here in Denver."

Another model for local growth is Pittsburgh, where Southwest started with 10 daily departures in May and now offers 19."It is very simply a function of the demand," Kelly said. "If the demand is there, we will want to add flights quickly."

When it does, Denver International Airport wants to be ready. Airport officials already have plans to build two temporary gates on the C concourse for $8 million to $10 million. Those gates are not yet designated for any carrier, but they're near Southwest's two existing gates on the C concourse.

Southwest's use and facilities lease agreement promises to bring nearly $5.3 million a year to the airport, and its cargo space lease will bring another $87,580 a year.

The airport also expects an extra 1.5 million passengers in 2006 who could bring an additional $10 million to $15 million in revenue from such things as concessions and parking. The airport credits the increase to Southwest's entry and the traffic it will stimulate on other airlines.

DIA rivals United and Frontier Airlines matched Southwest fares on some competing routes in October, lowering round-trip prices by as much as $60.
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Old 01-02-2006, 10:18 AM
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The cancer continues to grow.
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Old 01-02-2006, 09:25 PM
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Denver Post had an article for 3 Jan publication from unnamed SWA sources stating DEN-BWI & SLC flights will be starting up soon.
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Old 01-03-2006, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by mike734
The cancer continues to grow.
Couldn't agree more.
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Old 01-03-2006, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by mike734
The cancer continues to grow.
Mike, If SWA is a cancer, I wanna catch it. How can you look negatively upon the best paid narrow body pilots and the company that pays them that rate? I too, am a MD80 Captain, and I don't make near the wage of a SWA Captain. I say again, If SWA is a cancer, I hope I catch it.

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Old 01-03-2006, 06:00 PM
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You're absolutely right, Skybolt. If SWA is a cancer, it's sure not spreading fast enough. This cancer offers the airlines that contract it--

a. long term profitability
b. growth
c. never a furlough
c. pay rates at the top of the heap
d. awesome 401 (k) match
e. updates to captain in 6 years
f. good employee relations
g. great work environment

Let's quit the SWA bashing and back one of the few airlines that pays and treats its pilots extremely well.
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Old 01-03-2006, 08:51 PM
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SWA is the bus line of the Airways and has taken any glamor out of working for an airlines. Their cost are going up, fuel hedges are shrinking and there down turn is on the horizon.
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Old 01-04-2006, 12:03 AM
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I think there is more glamor here than at the other airlines. If you only knew!
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Old 01-04-2006, 07:28 AM
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What's with the SWA bashing? I don't work there and have way to many years with my current airline but how can anyone bash this place.

My buddy left here after 15 years to go to SWA and we are supposedly the best of the legacy carriers.

SW is a good airline period !!
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Old 01-04-2006, 09:29 AM
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Default worst to first?

We went from being laughed at and looked down to, to an airline of choice - and envy - in 5 short years!

Yes, our costs are high, but our productivity is even higher.

We'll do our best not to let our position go to our heads. So far it hasn't.
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