Southwest Airlines Announces New Flights From Orlando International Airport

Southwest Airlines Announces New Flights From Orlando International Airport

Southwest Airlines is making a significant shift, relocating most of its international flights from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Orlando.

Pending approval from the government, Southwest Airlines will introduce daily service between Orlando and various international destinations, including Cancun, Mexico, Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands, Nassau in the Bahamas, Providenciales in Turks and Caicos, Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, and San José, Costa Rica, starting from June 4, 2024. These new routes will complement the existing flights to Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Aruba.

In a recent third-quarter earnings call, Andrew Watterson, the airline’s chief operating officer, emphasized that this change would enhance connectivity in their domestic network, taking advantage of the nearly 140 daily departures from Orlando International Airport (MCO). The airline considers Orlando an international anchor, as it operates on a “point-to-point” business strategy, allowing passengers to travel directly between smaller markets.


Regarding this development, Orlando International Airport (MCO) referred USA TODAY’s request for comment to Southwest, while Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) has not responded to inquiries as of now.

Orlando’s strategic advantage lies in having more northbound Southwest flights, granting the airline better access to customer bases in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. Watterson explained that while international destinations are essential, they often represent modest-sized markets that require substantial connectivity. In addition, Southwest Airlines has a crew base in Orlando, making it more cost-effective and efficient to operate its international anchor in the Southeast from this location.

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