Southwest Airlines will shift its Florida base for international flying from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando next summer.
Currently, Southwest flies daily from Fort Lauderdale to Cancun, Mexico; Grand Cayman; Nassau, Bahamas; Turks & Caicos; and Punta Cana, D.R. Each of those routes will sunset on June 3. Daily flights from Orlando to each of those cities — plus San Jose, Costa Rica — will commence the following day, augmenting Southwest’s current flights from Orlando to Aruba and Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Southwest will end service between Fort Lauderdale and Havana next June, leaving Tampa as its only gateway to Cuba.
During Thursday’s Q3 earnings call, Southwest chief operating officer Andrew Watterson explained the reason for switch. The airline relies significantly on connecting flyers from further north to fill its Caribbean flights from Florida, he said, and Southwest operates substantially more flights to northern markets from Orlando than from Fort Lauderdale.
Southwest also announced other new routes for next summer, including daily flights from Hollywood Burbank Airport to Kansas City, New Orleans, San Antonio, St. Louis and Boise, Idaho. The carrier will also begin flights between Colorado Springs and Baltimore.
Each of those routes will begin June 4.
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