Like flying Southwest? You’ll soon have fewer options.

Terence Burke - UnSplash

The airline is pulling out of at least four North American airports

Southwest Airlines did not have a very good first quarter and as a result, it’s tightening its belt. The popular discount carrier said it is implementing a cost-cutting plan that includes ending operations at four North American Airports.

The airline said it will end operations in August at Cozumel International Airport in Mexico; Bellingham, Wash.; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Travelers to and from Houston will still have a Southwest option since the airline serves Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport.

Once establishing service, it’s rare that Southwest pulls out of an airport. According to the Wall Street Journal, it last did so in 2019 when it ended service to Newark, N.J.

In its first quarter earning report, the airline detailed several items that have created a strong headwind. It only flies Boeing jets and that company’s recent struggles have reduced the number of planes being built.

Boeing problems

Specifically, Boeing is reducing the number of 737 MAX jets. Southwest is among the largest customers for those aircraft.

"Achieving our financial goals is an immediate imperative,” said Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan. “The recent news from Boeing regarding further aircraft delivery delays presents significant challenges for both 2024 and 2025. We are reacting and replanning quickly to mitigate the operational and financial impacts while maintaining dependable and reliable flight schedules for our customers.”

Southwest told investors and analysts that its cost-cutting steps include limiting hiring and offering voluntary time off programs to employees. The company said it expects to end 2024 much leaner, with 2,000 fewer employees than it had at the end of 2023.

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