DALLAS - Southwest Airlines announced it has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for slot exemptions that would allow Southwest to offer nonstop service between Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU). The proposed service is possible due to Spirit Airlines' discontinued use of the slot exemptions, which are available for use inside Washington National's traditional 1,250 mile service perimeter.
Southwest's application points out that current average fares for nonstop service between Houston and Washington National are more than 60 percent higher than Southwest's average nonstop fare between Houston and Baltimore/Washington International (BWI), a similar distance. Southwest projects that its proposed HOU-DCA service would attract tens of thousands of new Passengers and save consumers millions of dollars annually.
As part of the effort to bring a low-fare alternative to the HOU-DCA market, Southwest is unveiling Southwest.com/HOU-DCA. Visitors to Southwest.com/HOU-DCA can receive additional information and sign a petition in support of Southwest's proposed service.
"Houston is one of Southwest Airlines' three original cities, and this proposed new service is another example of our strong commitment to continue adding value to the community," said Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and CEO. "By taking action now at www.Southwest.com/HOU-DCA, Houstonians and all travelers can make their voices heard that competition is a good thing, and lower fares are vitally important in these challenging economic times."
A decision by the DOT is expected in the first quarter of 2013. Southwest is prepared to begin service this spring if awarded the slots.
Southwest has served Houston since June 18, 1971, and currently has more than 2,700 HOU Employees serving 143 flights every day. Earlier this year, the Houston City Council approved the carrier's proposal to construct a new five-gate international facility at Hobby Airport. This new service is scheduled to begin in 2015.