Southwest Airlines continues its recent onslaught of new routes out of Long Beach Airport with the announcement Thursday of service to Portland, Oregon, and Boise, Idaho, beginning Oct. 7. The nonstop flights will depart Long Beach Saturdays and Sundays.

Since June of last year, as it continues to incur additional flight slots at the small municipal airport, Southwest has announced more than half a dozen new destinations, including nonstop to Nashville, New Orleans, Salt Lake City, Orlando and Kansas City. Last month, the air carrier announced service to Colorado Springs, El Paso and Albuquerque, which begin this summer.

“With today’s announcement, our partner Southwest now offers a timesaving weekend option to fly nonstop between Long Beach and the Pacific Northwest,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “These new weekend routes provide additional, valuable connectivity between both regions, with travelers from the Northwest looking for an easy gateway to Southern California.”

The Portland route is Southwest’s first to the Pacific Northwest out of Long Beach. JetBlue previously provided the route before it exited Long Beach permanently in October 2020.

Since arriving in Long Beach with four flight slots in 2016, Southwest has quickly grown to be the airport’s leading carrier. It holds 45 of the airport’s 58 daily flight slots—the maximum number of flights allowed each day per a strict city noise ordinance.

The other flight slots are held by Delta Air Lines (7), Hawaiian Airlines (2) and UPS (1). Three flight slots recently relinquished by American Airlines, which is leaving the airport completely, have yet to be reallocated, according to airport staff.

Flights are allocated based on a waitlist, which currently includes, in order: Canadian airline Swoop, Utah-based startup Breeze Airways, Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest. Swoop, Breeze and Hawaiian have recently passed on slots, meaning Southwest is likely to receive one or more of the available slots, further solidifying its position as the airport’s top carrier.

Combined, Long Beach carriers offer nonstop service to 24 destinations, more than at any time in the airport’s nearly 100-year history, according to the announcement.

“We love seeing our route map fill up with more and more exciting destinations, and this new weekend nonstop link with the Pacific Northwest is a very welcome addition to the service Southwest offers daily in these markets,” Airport Director Cynthia Guidry said in a statement. “Our convenient and easygoing airport now connects you to even more great places.”

https://lbbusinessjournal.com/aerospace/southwest-long-beach-colorado-springs-el-paso-albuquerque

Brandon Richardson is a reporter and photojournalist for the Long Beach Post and Long Beach Business Journal.