Southwest Continues International Expansion, Adds New Flights from St. Louis and Nashville

Southwest continues to link the U.S. with international destinations, including flights between L.A. and Liberia, Costa Rica (Photo: SWA Media)

After starting with their first international operations by taking over AirTran, Southwest has kept their foot on the gas when it comes to adding flights and expects to see even more expansion during the winter season.

St. Louis and Nashville will see new international routes thanks to the Dallas-based carrier while Ft. Lauderdale will receive additional flights as well. Southwest will fly Saturday only service on Boeing 737-700s from St. Louis to Cancun and from Nashville to Cancun.

The airline will also add Providenciales to Ft. Lauderdale service around the same time. The Ft. Lauderdale route will start on November 5 and the Cancun routes start the following Saturday on November 11.

Southwest joins the group of airlines that have slowly expanded service to Cancun from Midwest cities. Airlines like Frontier and American have added daily or weekend service between cities like St. Louis and Kansas City despite the lack of a hub at either city.

While Southwest will see competition for the Cancun routes early on, the airline has seen great expansion at both St. Louis and Nashville in recent years and this could be signs of future international service for the cities.

Ft. Lauderdale will become Southwest’s newest international focus city on June 4 with the start of service to Belize, Cancun, Grand Cayman, and Montego Bay. The Providenciales routes, which still needs government approval from Turks and Caicos, is expected to be the first new route to start after the focus city officially opens.

Ian McMurtry

Ian McMurtry

Ian has been an avgeek since 2004 when he started spotting US Airways Express planes at Johnstown Airport in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He now lives in Wichita and enjoys spotting planes in Kansas City and Wichita as well as those flying at high altitudes over his home. He is a pilot with more than 40 hours of experience behind a Cessna 172, Diamond DA-20, and Piper PA-28. He flies Southwest Airlines on most of his domestic flights and Icelandair when flying to Europe. Ian’s route map spans from Iceland and Alaska in the north to St. Maarten in the south. He is a student at Wichita State University, where he will study aerospace and mechanical engineering.
Ian McMurtry