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January 29, 2019

Air Travel: Southwest Drops Mexico City, New Flights to St. Kitts

Flight and route changes lead this week's air travel news affecting the meetings and events industry.

Southwest Airlines to Drop Mexico City Flights


Southwest Airlines is dropping its service to Mexico City from its hub at Houston Hobby Airport. Houston is the only city currently offering nonstop service to Mexico City in Southwest's Latin America route network. 

Southwest made the announcement in its most recent earnings call, when CEO Gary Kelly reported that the route would end March 31. During the call Kelly said that the airline was focusing on leisure destinations, while Mexico City had been more of a business travel market. 

“Better performing destinations for us right now are the leisure destinations,” Kelly said. “Mexico City was showing very nice improvement. It's much more of a business market. And given where we are right now we just have better business opportunities in terms of deploying that capacity. We'd love for us to be back in Mexico City one of these days. We are working on better commercial capabilities in terms of marketing in foreign countries, accepting foreign currency. All of those things in our future would support service to a place like Mexico City better than what we can today. We just have better alternatives and, as I said, hopefully we'll be back in Mexico City one of these days. Our priority right now obviously is adding Hawaii service.”

Southwest serves Mexico City from Houston Hobby four times daily. All told, the airline serves Mexico from a total of 21 peak and seasonal cities in the United States, with its most recent addition being new service between Chicago Midway and San Jose del Cabo

New Flights to St. Kitts

This week tourism officials in St. Kitts and Nevis announced plans for American Airlines to launch nonstop Saturday flights from Dallas - Fort Worth, marking a first in the island’s history. 

In a written statement Racquel Brown, CEO of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, said that the new service would increase the available options for visitors and Diaspora to get to the island during the summer family travel season, both from Dallas and via one-stop connections from a number of cities in the Western United States. 

American will operate the new Saturday nonstop flights the entire summer, from May 25 to August 17, 2019, on a 128-seat Airbus A-319 aircraft with 8 First Class seats, 24 Main Cabin Extra seats and 96 main cabin seats. Dallas - Fort Worth is American’s largest hub. 

Complementing the new Dallas - Fort Worth flight, American also operates non-stop Saturday flights to St. Kitts from New York-JFK and Charlotte plus daily non-stop flights (with twice daily non-stop flights from Wednesdays through Sundays) from Miami.

Porto-Newark Service Tripled


In Europe, this week TAP Air Portugal announced plans to triple its service between Newark and Porto on new Airbus A321LR aircraft. The new service will kick off June 1, flying six weekly nonstop roundtrips. The new EWR-OPO flights will operate every day except Tuesday. 

The airline is also adding new service from Porto to Brussels, Lyon and Munich, which means U.S. travelers can now enjoy a stopover of up to five days in Porto, en route to 14 European destinations from Newark.


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