The newest carrier at Long Beach Airport plans to start its service with routes to the Bay Area.
Southwest gained access to Long Beach when the city conducted a noise study that found the airport could add nine new daily departures and arrivals — a 20% expansion of traffic — without exceeding the city's noise restrictions.
The city awarded four of those slots to Southwest, three to JetBlue Airways and two to Delta Air Lines. JetBlue and Delta already fly out of Long Beach. Industry experts say the move opened the door for Southwest to go head-to-head with JetBlue, which has dominated traffic at the regional airport.
JetBlue now flies three daily flights from Long Beach to Oakland, as well as three to San Francisco International Airport, according to the airport's latest flight schedule.
In announcing the new service, Southwest officials seemed to take shots at their competitors at the airport. Southwest noted that it doesn't charge passengers to check their first two bags, while other airlines waive the fee only for certain routes or under special circumstances.
"As we bring much-needed competition to Long Beach this summer, our aim continues to be offering Californians the best value in air service," said Andrew Watterson, Southwest Airlines' senior vice president of network and revenue.
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