UPDATE 1-Southwest plans nonstop routes from Dallas Love to 15 cities

Mon Feb 3, 2014 1:39pm EST
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* New York, Chicago, Atlanta among big cities to be served

* Flights could enhance profitability -analyst

* Airline shares move lower

By Karen Jacobs

Feb 3 (Reuters) - Southwest Airlines Co said on Monday it will offer nonstop flights from its base at Dallas Love Field in Texas to 15 major cities including Chicago, New York and Los Angeles later this year, after flight restrictions from that airport expire.

The carrier plans to fly nonstop to Baltimore, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, Florida; and Chicago Midway from Oct. 13. Service to Atlanta, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York LaGuardia, Phoenix and other U.S. cities will begin on Nov. 2.

The new Love Field flights are planned as Southwest, traditionally a low-cost carrier, prepares to serve more U.S. cities with airport assets gained in New York and Washington after American Airlines Group Inc sold takeoff and landing rights. Southwest will start international service under its own brand this year as it completes the integration of AirTran.

"This is an opportunity for Southwest to capture passengers in the Dallas area who are now using other carriers to go nonstop to these points," said George Hamlin, an aviation consultant who is president of Hamlin Transportation Consulting in Fairfax, Virginia.

"Since many of these are business centers that probably generate considerable high-yield traffic, I think this is an opportunity for profitability enhancement on Southwest's part."   Continued...