Southwest Airlines Aims to Resume All International Service by Early 2021
In a video posted to Twitter, Southwest Airlines’ CEO Gary Kelly recently discussed how the airline plans to start gradually re-establishing its international service, and aims to have resumed flights to all fifteen of its Caribbean and Central American destinations by early 2021.
A cross-departmental Southwest team, Kelly divulged, is tasked with monitoring when each destination is ready to start welcoming visitors again, as reopening timelines and regulations vary according to country, and are easily subject to change amid fluctuating conditions on the ground.
For example, he said, “We originally anticipated resuming Havana service on July 1, but have now postponed that to no earlier than August 1, due to that country’s changing restrictions.”
While a slower recovery is still generally anticipated for international versus domestic travel, some experts believe that we’ll witness a higher-than-expected demand for leisure destinations in the Western Hemisphere, revealed the Miami Herald.
Kelly said that, once it’s been determined that a destination is ready for reopening, the resumption of Southwest’s service will be contingent upon three criteria: the safety of people, crew and customers; the quality of the customer experience; and the profitability of the route.
Last week we began resuming our international operation, which has been on a three-month pause prompted by the #COVID19 pandemic. Tune in for an update on how we’re reestablishing our international service in a way that prioritizes the Safety of our People, Crews, and Customers. pic.twitter.com/MLxcTrsU7X
— Gary Kelly (@gary_kelly) July 8, 2020
Kelly explained: “During this critical time, we want to ensure any route we resume will help us reduce our overall cash burn and our commercial teams have contingencies in place, if local conditions aren’t conducive or the demand isn’t there.” He also observed, “Many of our international destinations have a higher demand during specific times of the year.”
“We know these are important destinations for our customers and we’re working diligently to resume service when it is safe and meets the needs of our business,” Kelly said. “And our hope is to resume service to all of our previously served international destinations by early 2021.”
For more information, visit southwest.com.
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