La Guardia Soon to Join Southwest’s Schedule
Southwest, which has been inching toward serving New York City for several years, plans to start low-fare service to Chicago Midway Airport and Baltimore-
For New York travelers, Southwest’s prices could affect fares in and out of La Guardia in the way that
Service from La Guardia is an opportunity for Southwest — the largest domestic carrier measured by number of passengers — to break into the nation’s busiest air market. It has edged into the area with flights from Islip Airport on Long Island, which is about 50 miles from Manhattan.
Southwest bought takeoff and landing slots at La Guardia after ATA Airlines filed for Chapter 11 last April, its second such filing in four years. Southwest previously had a code-sharing agreement with ATA, allowing passengers on Southwest to book tickets to destinations served by ATA.
That arrangement gave Southwest insight into operations at La Guardia, said Bob Jordan, an executive vice president of Southwest. “We know we have built-in demand,” Mr. Jordan said.
Last month, a federal bankruptcy judge approved Southwest’s $7.5 million bid for ATA’s 14 takeoff and landing slots, which would give it the capacity of seven peak-period flights a day in and out of La Guardia. Through bartering, it traded in those for eight slots spread throughout the day.
“There was a lot of horse-trading in there,” Mr. Jordan said.
Southwest will have five flights to Chicago and three flights to Baltimore-Washington daily, which will connect to dozens of other destinations.
Two other large markets that Southwest has yet to fully serve are Atlanta and Boston.