Orange County, California - In a shuffling of airline allocations at John Wayne Airport, Southwest will lose seven daily flights and nearly 1 million passenger seats in 2017.
Gone from the Southwest roster will be relatively new flights to Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Austin, Texas, Kansas City, Mo., Portland, Ore., St. Louis and Seattle. The airline still will offer 50 daily departures through JWA.
Flights to Mexico City will end Jan. 4; flights to Austin, Kansas City, Portland, St. Louis and Seattle will end Jan. 14; and flights to Puerto Vallarta end April 25.
Southwest added a flight to Puerto Vallarta a year ago. Domestic flights added in 2015 included routes to Seattle; Portland; Chicago; Austin, Texas; Kansas City and St. Louis.
"We are exiting nonstop service in these relatively new and initially successful markets to stay within the newly assigned limits of our capacity for 2017," a Southwest Airlines representative said in a statement.
John Wayne spokeswoman Deanne Thompson explained that in the past, unused capacity from other carriers was used by Southwest. Other carriers, including Delta, United and Alaska, requested additional capacity for 2017, leaving fewer supplemental seats for Southwest. Thompson did not know if other airlines would introduce new flights or add to existing routes.
The flight reduction means Southwest will have 938,999 fewer seats allocated for 2017. Meanwhile, Alaska/Horizon will pick up 257,596 additional seats, Delta 387,630, and United gets 296,346.
Airport traffic has been up for much of 2016. In August, passenger traffic grew 2 percent. Year-to-date passenger traffic was up 7.6 percent; total aircraft operations were up 13.2 percent. International passenger traffic was up almost 50 percent.
Flights to Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta will be available through Alaska Airlines. Southwest will continue flights to Cabo San Lucas.
This summer, Southwest launched flights out of Long Beach Airport. Nine slots opened in December at the airport after studies showed the airport could add the flights without violating the city's noise ordinances. Of the nine new slots, Southwest was offered four, JetBlue got three and Delta two.Original article