(Note: An earlier version of this article first appeared on the Business Journal’s website on March 31. It has been updated to reflect new information.)
Oakland is the destination Southwest Airlines has chosen to inaugurate its first-ever service from Long Beach Airport, with its first flight set to lift off on June 5, the airline announced today at a press conference aboard the Queen Mary.
Through April 14, Southwest is offering a special introductory price of $49 one-way for flights to and from Oakland from June 5 through November 4.
Andrew Watterson, Southwest’s senior vice president of network and revenue, told the Business Journal that the airline considered several other destinations in its network but ultimately chose Oakland because of its appeal to both business and leisure travelers. “We wanted to make sure we have a flight schedule that’s compelling to business travelers as well as leisure,” he said.
Watterson added that the airline, which originally requested nine flight slots at Long Beach Airport, hopes to obtain more slots to add more destinations, including possibly Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix and Dallas. “There are lots of opportunities for us because we have lots of places around the country where we have a good customer base,” he said.
With its service to Oakland, the airline is using all four daily flight slots allocated from Long Beach Airport in February. Southwest will be using its Boeing 737-700 series aircraft, airline officials said.
According to Southwest’s website, the first flight leaves Long Beach at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, June 5, and arrives in Oakland at 11:50 a.m. The Monday through Friday schedule shows flights depart from Long Beach at 7 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 2:15 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Southwest’s decision to service Oakland means it is going head-to-head with JetBlue Airways, which currently offers three daily flights to the Bay Area city. JetBlue currently holds 35 of the 50 flight slots authorized at the Long Beach Airport.
During the press conference, Mayor Robert Garcia welcomed Southwest Airlines as the airport’s newest air carrier and the city’s newest corporate citizen.
“As someone who has flown Southwest often, I will tell you that they have terrific costumer service,” he said. “We all know about their affordable air fares, and we’re incredibly excited to have this level of corporate citizen now involved in our city. They really make a perfect addition to the Long Beach Airport and of course to Long Beach.”