Southwest Airlines continues its dominance at Long Beach Airport, as it’s been awarded five more daily flight slots, city officials announced Thursday. The carrier announced it will use the slots for new, returning and expanded services.
The carrier will begin daily, nonstop service to Colorado Springs and El Paso beginning July 11 and Albuquerque beginning Sept. 5. Southwest’s seasonal daily, nonstop service to Maui, meanwhile, returns March 9, and flights to Dallas will increase to twice per day starting June 4.
“On top of offering one of the easiest and most convenient travel experiences in the country, we now offer more destinations for our travelers than ever before,” Airport Director Cynthia Guidry said in a statement.
Carriers at Long Beach now offer nonstop service to 22 cities across the country—more destinations than at any time in the airport’s 99-year history, according to city officials. The previous record was 19 nonstop destinations in 2011.
Thursday’s announcement is the latest in a string of service additions by Southwest. Over the past eight months, the company has announced service to Nashville, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Orlando and Kansas City.
Under its strict noise ordinance, Long Beach Airport previously allowed 53 daily flights. Staff’s most recent noise audit, however, found daily service could be added while remaining under the outlined threshold. City staff ultimately added five flights.
Of the now 58 daily allowable flights, Southwest holds 45, or 78%.
The Texas-based air carrier first arrived in Long Beach in 2016 with four daily flights and has continued to pick up as many slots as possible as they become available. The departure of JetBlue, the airport’s previous top carrier, netted Southwest dozens of slots.
American Airlines recently announced its departure from Long Beach and relinquished three daily flights, which have not yet been allocated to another carrier. Available slots are awarded based on a waitlist.
The current waitlist, in order, is Canadian airline Swoop, Utah-based startup Breeze Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest. Companies at the top of the list have the right of first refusal.
Swoop already has been offered flights at Long Beach numerous times and declined. Breeze, meanwhile, has previously accepted one daily slot, which was forfeited months later for nonuse. The two companies, along with Hawaiian, passed on the five slots awarded to Southwest.
It is likely Southwest will pick up one or more of the available slots.
“Southwest Airlines continues to connect Long Beach to more places, demonstrating our airport’s economic value for tourism and business,” Mayor Rex Richardson said in a statement.