Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said he would not discuss specifics until the carrier officially releases its schedule.
“What we’ve been doing for a couple of years now is optimizing our entire schedule,” Mainz said. “We’re doing that all over the system, and it’s really a matter of matching supply with demand and reallocating operations to airports where we’re doing well.”
The announcement came days before the carrier on Thursday reported $11 million in first-quarter profits. Passenger figures have a significant impact on the airport’s revenues and potentially affect planned capital improvement projects if they continue to slump, commissioners said. But revenues have yet to dip below projections.
Passenger traffic in February was down 4.9% from the previous year, dragging the year-to-date figure down to 1.6%, according to airport records. Last year’s passenger numbers fell to their lowest point in eight years, from 5.3 million in 2008 to 4.6 million in 2009. The volume of passengers peaked at more than 5.9 million in 2007.
Spiraling figures would likely continue until deflated corporate budgets and leisure travel rebound, Commissioner Charles Lombardo said.
Proposed reductions would affect all five markets served from Bob Hope Airport: Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Airport officials said the carrier’s redundant flight schedule would allow travelers to make up for possible lost departures.
Airport spokesman Victor Gill said the proposal mirrors an industrywide trend of reducing the number of total seats and attempting to achieve greater capacity on ones that remain. That allows carriers to fly regional jets of roughly 60 passengers rather than 130-passenger Boeing 737s, he said.