Southwest Airlines has been awarded all 17 flight slots at Long Beach Airport soon to be vacated by JetBlue, the city announced today.
“Southwest picking up all available flight slots at the Long Beach Airport so quickly is a testament to the strength of our airport and their commitment to succeeding here in Long Beach,” said Mayor Robert Garcia in the announcement.
JetBlue, the largest air carrier at Long Beach Airport for nearly two decades, announced that it was pulling out of the municipal airport in July. The airline’s final flight out of Long Beach is slated for Oct. 6.
Following the JetBlue announcement, airport staff reached out to air carriers to update the waiting list for additional flight slots. While multiple carriers expressed interest, they said the timing—in the midst of a pandemic that has decimated passenger numbers—was not ideal for taking on additional slots.
The allocation doubles Southwest’s presence in Long Beach from 17 to 34 daily flights. The airline has not announced the destinations of its new slots but is expected to increase its current offering of nonstop flights from Long Beach.
“This is a vote of confidence in the boutique travel experience we offer at our airport,” airport Director Cynthia Guidry said. “We are thrilled to see Southwest increase their presence at LGB and grateful for their ongoing partnership.”
Southwest began service in Long Beach in 2016 with four daily flights and has steadily increased service as JetBlue has relinquished slots over the last several years.
Long Beach Airport has one of the strictest noise controls in the country, which limits daily flights to 53.
The remaining daily flights allocations include 12 by Delta Airlines, three by American Airlines, two from Hawaiian Airlines and one each by FedEx and UPS.