Texas Capital to Nation’s Capital
Southwest Airlines completed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for slots that would allow Southwest to offer the first-ever nonstop service between Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) — the equivalent of “downtown DC’s” close-in airport — and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), in Texas.
Southwest also included in their application the ability to provide one-stop, same-pane service between Washington National and San Diego (SAN), via Austin. The proposed service is possible due to recent federal legislation that authorized new flights to cities beyond Washington National’s traditional 1,250 mile service perimeter.
Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and CEO, said, “Southwest Airlines is committed to offering Customers low fares, new service options, and increased competition which is demonstrated with this proposed first-ever nonstop service between our home state’s capital and our nation’s capital—a route we would take great pride in offering our Customers.”
Current fares for connecting service between Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) and Washington National (DCA) are more than 50 percent higher than Southwest’s average fare for the same distance, enabling Southwest to offer sharply lower prices to consumers on this currently un-served, beyond-perimeter nonstop route.
This new nonstop service, if approved by the DOT, would also connect Washington National Customers with other Southwest destinations like Dallas Love Field and Houston Hobby—offering both destinations low fare, connecting service into Washington, D.C. via Austin. Southwest plans to operate the proposed daily Washington, D.C.-Austin-San Diego service with Boeing 737-800 aircraft with 175 seats each way.
A decision by the DOT is expected in May, and Southwest is prepared to begin service this summer if awarded the slots.