Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly stated the carrier has no plans to launch international services until at least 2013 with Southwest to focus on domestic services and its acquisition of AirTran (businesstravelnews.com, 19-Jan-2011).
Southwest: “If for no other reason than that we don't have our reservations capabilities in place yet, we won't in 2011 and may not in 2012. Logically, we're going to focus on the domestic market for the next several years, and I think that's the right priority anyway. AirTran brings 37 new destinations, 38 with their Bermuda service – and who knows what their route map will be when we actually close. They're in charge of themselves, and they don't ask me whether to add new markets. We'll need to work hard to integrate all that first. This is pacing out very nicely. Our concurrent effort will be installing this new reservations system, so that hopefully by 2013 we're ready to seriously entertain launching international flights on Southwest Airlines. It could be 2014. All of those plans just aren't firmed up yet. But now everyone knows what the goals are, and we'll be able to put into place work plans that are very logical and figure out the right sequence. The number-one priority right now has to be getting AirTran closed and integrated, and the pacing of the other items can fall after that.” Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines. Source: businesstravelnews.com, 19-Jan-2011.