Southwest Airlines announces new Reagan National routes

Good news for local fliers who don’t want to make the trek to Washington Dulles or Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall airports.

Southwest Airlines announced Monday that it will more than double its flights at Reagan National Airport, adding seven new nonstops beginning this summer.

“By year’s end, we’ll offer 44 daily departures to 14 destinations from Reagan National Airport,” said Ron Ricks, Southwest Airlines’s executive vice president and chief legal and regulatory officer in a news release announcing the changes. “We’ve been interested in expanding at Washington National for a long time.”

As part of the conditions  negotiated with the Department of Justice, American was required to give up slots at Reagan National to win federal approval to merge with US Airways.  The new American would have controlled 69 percent of all flights in and out of National, one of four U.S. airports where the volume of takeoffs and landings has been restricted by Federal Aviation Administration guidelines.

Although travelers likely will cheer the new options, the changes will also pose issues for Reagan National Airport, which set an all-time record for traffic in 2013, with 20.4 million passengers flying through its gates. Once the new routes are in place airport officials say the the number of passengers could grow by 2.4 million, straining an airport that has little room to expand.

Southwest officials said they will launch the new flights with a sale, with fares as low as $84 for travel every day except Fridays and Sundays. The new flights will come on line starting this summer.

Here are some of the new routes Southwest will add.

Beginning Aug. 10, 2014: daily, nonstop flights between Washington National and:

  • Chicago (Midway) with six round-trips at introductory fares as low as $119 one-way.
  • Nashville with three round-trips at introductory fares as low as $129 one-way.
  • New Orleans with two round-trips at introductory fares as low as $129 one-way.

Beginning Sept. 30, 2014, Southwest will add flights from DCA to:

  • Tampa Bay, with two round-trips at introductory fares as low as $84 one-way.
  • Three additional flights to Chicago (Midway), which will bring the total number of daily round-trips to nine.

Beginning Nov. 2, 2014, Southwest will add new daily nonstop service to:

  • Akron-Canton
  • Dallas Love Field
  • Indianapolis

And additional flights will be added to

  • Houston (Hobby)
  • St. Louis

Note: schedules for November flights will be published in May.

These new flights are in addition to earlier announcements that the Southwest would add service to Dallas Love Field. Earlier this month, JetBlue and Virgin America also announced a slate of new flights.

Lori Aratani writes about how people live, work and play in the D.C. region for The Post’s Transportation and Development team.
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