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Southwest Airlines Adds 2 New Strategic Routes

By Eric Volkman - Feb 25, 2021 at 8:15PM

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Travelers will soon be able to hop on the company's planes and fly to Montana or the Florida panhandle.

Clearly undeterred by the coronavirus pandemic and the devastating impact it's had on the travel industry, Southwest Airlines (LUV -2.11%) is opening up a pair of new routes -- Destin-Fort Walton Beach airport in the Florida panhandle, and Montana's Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.

The former route will be served by flights from the Baltimore/Washington, Dallas (Love Field), Nashville, and Chicago (Midway) airports. Service will commence on May 6 for the first three, with Chicago launching on June 6. Nashville will be served by three daily flights each way, and the remainder with one apiece. One-way fares start at $69.

An airplane taking off at dusk or dawn.

Image source: Getty Images.

As for Bozeman -- incidentally, Southwest's inaugural Montana destination -- it will be served from the Denver and Las Vegas airports with two daily flights each way starting on May 27. Service from Denver will increase to four daily flights each way on June 6; one-way prices for both routes start at $39.

"We're adding another destination in the West, our first in Montana, and bringing additional access to the beaches of Northwest Florida just as winter-weary families begin to dream of warm summer escapes in wide-open places," Southwest's chief commercial offer Andrew Watterson was quoted as saying, by way of explanation.

Southwest has been eager to pounce on the anticipated post-coronavirus rebound in travel, and expanding its reach during the outbreak isn't a new strategy. Last year, it added routes such as Palm Springs, California; Hilo, Hawaii; and Cozumel, Mexico. And in 2021, it has already announced service to locales like Colorado Springs and Santa Barbara, California.

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