Southwest Airlines announces 8 new routes in its latest expansion as airlines ramp up focus on Austin – see the full list

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737
A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700. AaronP:Bauer Griffin/GC Images/Getty
  • Southwest Airlines announced eight new routes on Thursday, six of which focus on Austin, Texas.
  • Austin, dubbed “Silicon Hills,” has become increasingly popular for tech giants from California.
  • Southwest will operate two new routes outside of Texas, including service from Colorado to Mexico.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Southwest Airlines announced eight new routes on Thursday in its latest network expansion, six of which will be to Austin, Texas, the state’s latest tech giant.

Business and leisure travelers will get more options to and from Austin starting in March 2022, including up to 105 departures per day serving 46 destinations across the United States and Mexico, according to Southwest. In addition to its stacked service to Austin, the airline will begin two routes outside of the Lone Star State, including Albuquerque to Burbank and Denver to Cozumel, Mexico.

Austin has become a popular tech destination for Silicon Valley giants like Tesla, which chose the Texas capital, now referred to as the “Silicon Hills,” as the location for its $US1 ($AU1) billion factory that will build its highly-anticipated Cybertruck.

Southwest has been Austin’s leading carrier for over three decades, accounting for about 34% of the airport’s total passenger traffic in the first half of 2021, according to data from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Southwest isn’t the only carrier entering the booming Austin market. In March, American Airlines added 10 routes to the central Texas city, connecting cities that formerly required a layover in one of the carrier’s hubs, like Chicago or Miami. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines, Spirit Airlines, and Allegiant Air have also bolstered operations in Austin, with Delta making it a focus city.

Here are the eight new routes Southwest will start next spring.

Between Austin and Amarillo, Texas

Aerial View of Downtown Amarillo, Texas
Amarillo, Texas Jacob Boomsma/Shutterstock

Southwest will fly once daily from Austin to Amarillo beginning March 10. On weekdays and Sundays, the outbound will be an evening departure with an early morning return. Saturday service will depart in the early afternoon with a late morning return. The airline currently faces no competition on the route.

Between Austin and Charleston, South Carolina

Downtown Charleston Shops
Charleston, South Carolina Shutterstock / Sean Pavone

Southwest’s once-daily flight from Austin to Charleston will start on March 10. The outbound will be an afternoon departure with a morning return. Like Amarillo, Southwest will be the route’s only operator.

Between Austin and Columbus, Ohio

Columbus ohio
Columbus, Ohio pawel.gaul/Getty Images

Southwest’s Austin to Columbus route will run on select peak travel days in 2021, but daily nonstop service will begin on March 10. On weekdays and Sundays, the once-daily flight will depart from both cities in the morning, while the Saturday service will offer an afternoon departure both ways. No airlines serve the route, leaving Southwest with no competition.

Between Austin and Midland-Odessa, Texas

Midland Texas
Midland, Texas DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

Southwest will fly a once-daily evening flight from Austin to Midland starting March 10. The evening outbound will operate on weekdays and Sundays with an early morning return. Meanwhile, Saturdays will operate an early afternoon departure out of both cities. Southwest will face no competition on the short intrastate hop.

Between Austin and Ontario, California

Ontario, California
Ontario, California Matt Gush/Shutterstock

Southwest will launch a once-daily flight from Austin to Ontario on March 10. An afternoon outbound and morning return will be offered on the route. Southwest will not face direct competition on the Ontario route, though Delta, Alaska, and United serve nearby Los Angeles from Austin.

Between Austin and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto vallarta
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Oskar Fluehler/Shutterstock

Southwest’s Saturday-only service between Austin and Puerto Vallarta will begin on March 12, pending government approval. The flight schedule is not yet available. The airline will directly compete with American on the route, which currently operates a thrice-weekly flight using Boeing 737 aircraft.

Between Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Burbank, California

Burbank, California
Burbank, California Lux Blue/Shutterstock

Southwest will operate a once-daily flight from Albuquerque to Burbank beginning January 17. The flight will operate in the evening every day and return in the early afternoon. No other carriers operate the route.

Between Denver, Colorado, and Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, Mexico
Cozumel, Mexico Shutterstock/DiegoMariottini

Southwest’s Saturday-only service between Denver and Cozumel will begin March 12, pending government approval. The morning outbound will depart at 10:15 a.m. and land at 3:15 p.m. and the afternoon return will leave at 4:10 p.m. and land at 7:35 p.m. Southwest will face competition from United and Frontier on this route.