Southwest at TPA

There’s some rumors out there that Southwest is looking at the possibilty of drawing back their operations in Manchester, NH and starting to fly out of Worcester. Although these are rumors, the move would make sense as JetBlue has entered the Worcester market guns blazing with load factors in the low to mid eighties to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale. Southwest is behind the ball on Worcester and they may not want to fall behind. I’m a pretty firm believer that ORH cannot grow too much until the new Category III ILS is operational simply due to weather. This month alone about 12 JetBlue flights into or out of ORH have been effected by weather. That spiffy new ILS will fix all the weather issues.

Now, if Southwest was to come to Worcester before that ILS is installed they’d be showing that they don’t want to fall 3-4 years behind in Worcester to JetBlue.

Several potential markets from Worcester that Southwest would likely fly to are Baltimore, MD (4-5 daily flights), Chicago-Midway (2-3 daily flights), Tampa, FL (1 daily flight), and West Palm Beach (1 daily flight). BWI would allow connections all over Southwest’s route network and MDW would provide a good waypoint west to markets like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.   However, until I see a press release I’ll be somewhat skeptical of Southwest coming to ORH especially before the ILS is in place.