Southwest Airlines Is Starting Red-Eye Flights Within Weeks

Southwest Airlines is going into the dark.

Ryan Green, the airline’s chief commercial officer, told attendees at an air travel conference last week that the company was planning on rolling out red-eye flights for the first time in history sometime within the next two weeks, the Washington Post reported.

Green said that he estimated the airline could roll out up to 50 red-eye flights a day, noting that the airline is still working out the scheduling technicalities and related labor decisions before the late-night voyages can begin.

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“We have to be maniacally focused on being efficient,” Green told the outlet, explaining that the airline wants to expand the flight offerings without “adding to the cost structure.”

Southwest, which is based in Dallas, has major hubs in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix, making a red-eye flight option appealing to passengers flying to and from these Western U.S. cities.

Red-eye flights are especially popular for cross-country travel, giving passengers the chance to hit the ground running upon landing due to the time zone change.

Southwest saw a net loss of $219 million in revenue during Q4 of 2023, but the airline still managed to break a company record of $6.8 billion in operating revenue during the same period.

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“I am very proud of our many accomplishments in 2023, but we have not yet delivered on our financial targets,” said CEO Bob Jordan in an earnings release at the time. “We expect our current initiatives to continue to deliver beyond 2024, and we are actively working on new initiatives. We will be relentless in executing against our plans to drive financial results while enhancing our great hospitality and delivering a reliable and more efficient operation.”

The decision may choose to be challenging in the months ahead — issues at Boeing led to Southwest acquiring fewer Boeing 737 Max planes.

Southwest was down just under 6% year over year as of Monday afternoon.

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