Southwest Airlines will cut about 200 flights from its schedule this winter, including some at Dallas Love Field, as it adjusts its winter schedule for high fuel prices.
The airline traditionally trims the number of flights it operates during the first quarter, when travel demand drops after the holidays. The cuts this year "are a little steeper than usual," said Chris Mainz, a spokesman for the Dallas-based carrier.
Still, he said the airline hasn't changed its overall forecast for its 2009 capacity. Gary Kelly, Southwest's chief executive, recently told analysts that the airline may not grow at all during the year.
"This is more of just a tweak to the schedule, it's not going to impact our overall growth plans for 2009," Mainz said.
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Still, the winter reductions will give Southwest some added flexibility to cope with winter weather or operational problems. For example, most of the flight reductions will be the first or last departure of the day, which will give the airline more time to reschedule passengers if flights are canceled.
And the cuts mean more airplanes will be available to take over flights if other aircraft are stranded elsewhere by winter storms.
From Love Field, Southwest will cut three round-trip flights to Houston, San Antonio and Albuquerque.
Most other large airlines are making significant cuts to capacity. American Airlines, based in Fort Worth, will cut its schedule by 8 percent during the fourth quarter as it copes with record fuel prices.