Even though they seemed to be bucking the trend by adding flights earlier this summer, Southwest is finally joining other domestic airlines in the flight cutting club. This winter, the nation’s biggest budget carrier will cut nearly 200 flights in order to combat the effect that high fuel prices have on its bottom line.
According to a Southwest spokesperson, the cuts are not permanent. Routes like Nashville to Oakland and Tampa to Philly will be halted during the slower winter months (beginning in January), but will return later in the year.
Southwest is not as severely affected as its competition by high fuel prices because it purchased option which allow it to buy fuel at cheaper prices. As a result, their cuts are a lot less severe than those of other major carriers. While 200 flights seems substantial, it is only a 6% drop in the overall number of flights. In comparison, American Airlines and United Airlines are promising cuts of 12% and 16% respectively. So, even as they trim their service, Southwest can still say that they are performing better than others in the industry.