By Evan Hoopfer
October 27, 2020
Southwest Airlines Co. will add service to Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia and return to Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport in Mississippi in the first half of 2021, the carrier announced as part of its third quarter earnings release.
The Dallas-based carrier also announced on Dec. 1 it will sell every seat on its flights. Throughout much of the pandemic, Southwest has capped tickets at two-thirds capacity so the middle seat could remain open. Southwest said it allow passengers to book another flight if they are uncomfortable with being on a full flight.
The company cited “science-based findings from trusted medical and aviation organizations” as reasoning for taking off the capacity limits. The move comes months after other airlines have done the same, with American Airlines, for example, taking capacity limits off its flights July 1.
“The risk of breathing COVID-19 particles on an airplane is virtually non-existent, with the combination of air filtration and face covering requirements,” Kelly said.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Defense released a study that concluded it would take 54 hours for one person sitting next to another passenger with COVID-19 to receive a dangerous dose of the virus. The study cited the quality air filtration mechanisms that exist on commercial airliners, and the fact that mask mandates are still an industry-wide practice as the primary reasons for the relatively safe conditions.
Southwest is one of the largest employers in Greater Baltimore with over 4,000 employees in the area in 2019. It is also the largest carrier at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
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Source: Baltimore Business Journal