Beginning September 6, Southwest Airlines will fly nonstop every day to Denver, a major western hub and focus city for Southwest. The airline serves over 60 destinations from Denver. In 2021, Southwest plans to add 16 gates in Denver, thereby allowing them to expand to more destinations.
Southwest will also suspend its Las Vegas and Phoenix service. Phoenix service is scheduled to resume in January and Las Vegas in March. Airlines are doing everything they can to minimize cash burn, and Southwest is no exception. Denver is a closer stage length from Wichita and less expensive to operate. By connecting in Denver, more passengers can fill a plane to various destinations including Las Vegas and Phoenix.
Except for Ultra Low-Cost Carriers, Southwest had the lowest average fare from Denver in 2019:
- Frontier $56
- Allegiant $64
- Southwest $126
- Alaska $164
- Delta $189
- American $190
- United $215
Southwest will compete with United on a daily basis, and with Frontier which operates two weekly flights to Denver. Southwest will bring low-fare competition to more western markets. It is important that this service is supported in order to keep Southwest growing in our market. Once the pandemic ends and travel demand increases, it will be a long, slow rebuilding process. Airlines will grow in the strongest markets first. If all goes well, Southwest will operate service to four destinations from Wichita in March.