Southwest Airlines Announces Plans to Serve Chicago’s Largest Airport
There is no question that 2020 has been a year filled with unique challenges for everyone. Individuals and families have been forced to abide by stay-at-home orders, and many businesses were shut down for extended periods. As things begin to open back up, however, some companies are finding new ways to increase their revenues by seizing opportunities where they become available.
One local example can be found in the plans recently announced by Southwest Airlines to expand operations to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport for the first time in the airline’s history. Industry experts suggest that the move is a direct response to how the leisure travel market is recovering in the wake of the COVID-19 health crisis.
A New Foothold in Chicago
The two major airports in Chicago have traditionally split up airline traffic between O’Hare and Midway Airport. American Airlines and United Airlines established hubs at O’Hare, while Midway has long been a Southwest stronghold. In fact, before COVID, Southwest operated up to 260 daily flights out of Midway—making the airport one of the largest Southwest hubs in the country.
Earlier this month, Southwest Airlines announced that it plans to open new routes serving the Chicago area in 2021. It came as somewhat of a surprise to many industry experts that the routes would be added to O’Hare instead of Midway. The Dallas-based carrier has never before offered service at Chicago’s largest airport, and the new routes are expected to add fresh competition to O’Hare. While the specific routes have not yet been announced, experts believe that the flights will be mid-distance routes to Florida, Texas, and the East Coast.
As of now, Southwest is not expected to reduce service at Midway. The move, however, is expected to draw out-of-town travelers to O’Hare to catch Southwest flights. O’Hare is located at the intersection of a number of major interstate highways, which to many people, makes the airport more convenient than Midway.
There are many questions about why Southwest would choose to expand its operations at this particular point, given that the pandemic is still ongoing. Southwest’s focus has long been on leisure travel, offering no-frills service to recreational destinations in fairly basic 737s. American and United, by comparison, expanded to offer more amenities and services to business travelers. Over the last few months, however, as people continued to work from home and conducting meetings via video conferencing, leisure travel is recovering faster than business travel is. With its existing resources and travel networks, Southwest seems to have the ability to experiment with adding routes.
A Naperville Business Lawyer Can Help You Seize Opportunities
If you are looking for new ways to grow your business in the midst of challenging times, our experienced DuPage County business law attorneys can provide the guidance and representation you need. Our team will assist you in developing a growth strategy that will allow your company to remain profitable for many years to come. Call 630-756-1160 for a confidential consultation at the Gierach Law Firm today.