Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor April 27, 2010 01:32 PM
Southwest Airlines continues its expansion at Logan with daily nonstop service to Phoenix starting Sept. 7. And to accommodate its recent growth spurt the carrier also plans a major increase in its ground operations staff.
The single daily flight to Phoenix will mark the sixth nonstop destination offered by the discount carrier since it launched service in August with flights to Chicago and Baltimore-Washington International. In September, Texas-based Southwest announced that it would add nonstops from Logan to Denver and St. Louis, and in February it revealed plans to start service to Philadelphia in June.
Southwest already offered nonstop service to Phoenix from T.F. Green, near Providence, and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, N.H.
After adding the Philadelphia flights, which will begin with five dailies but grow to eight before the end of the summer, and the Phoenix service, the airline determined that it needed additional staff at Logan. Currently, Southwest employs about 40 customer service and ramp workers, but it plans to add 30 more such ground operations employees.
"Our plans have really ramped up pretty fast,'' said Paul Flaningan, a Southwest spokesman.
In another development, federal regulators hit Southwest with a $200,000 fine for breaking rules on bumping passengers from oversold flights, according to the Associated Press. The US Transportation Department lets airlines sell more seats than they have available as some passengers fail to show up, but if too many passengers arrive the agency requires airlines to first ask for volunteers to give up seats for compensation before bumping passengers. Travelers who involuntarily lose their seats are entitled to compensation and written statements detailing their rights along with an explanation of how the carrier decides who gets bumped.
Scott Olson/Getty Images/2008 file photo