On December 16th, Southwest airlines officially announced the it will begin serving Fresno Yosemite Int’l Airport starting in the feather of 2021. Plenty of Valley occupants were delighted through the news: Southwest airline has been one of the many wished-for national companies among Fresnans (possibly rivaled only by Ikea). When Southwest shown that it will begin flying come Fresno (as well together Santa Barbara), the airline did not say whereby it would certainly fly, how countless flights the would originally offer, or exactly when that would begin service. This has led to a lot of speculation, so now seems like a an excellent time to explore the possible destinations the Southwest Airlines will certainly serve indigenous Fresno.

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Courtesy of Southwest Airlines
What The first Southwest Flights will Look prefer

The only information that Southwest gave around its brand-new service come Fresno is the it will start in “the 2nd quarter of 2021.” It’s fairly likely the the an initial flights will begin in late may or early June; this will give Southwest time come ramp-up service prior to the summer take trip season, i beg your pardon is commonly the busiest time of the year for airlines (but can be muted this year since of the COVID-19 pandemic). It’s also relatively likely the Southwest will initially offer 5-8 flights every day indigenous Fresno. Southwest started service to Palm Springs through 5 flights every day, and is start service in Jackson, MS v 6 flights per day; Fresno would likely follow a comparable pattern. It’s likewise likely that Southwest will offer an ext than one destination from Fresno in its early stage offerings; Southwest serves multiple destinations native nearly every one of the airports it has a visibility at. So, let’s take it a look at at feasible destinations Southwest will certainly serve once it starts flying come Fresno in mid-2021.

Destination AirportOdds Of offer InitiallyProbable Flights every Day
1. Ras Vegas (LAS)5:12-3
2. Denver (DEN)3:11-2
3. Phoenix (PHX)2:11-2
4. San Diego (SAN)3:21-2
5. Oakland (OAK)1:11-2
6. Los Angeles (LAX)1:21-2
7. Honolulu (HNL)1:31
8. Houston (HOU)1:41
9. Chicago (MDW)1:51
1. Las Vegas (LAS)

Las las vegas is the many likely location for Southwest from Fresno. The many compelling factor for this is the history of strong demand between Fresno and Las Vegas. For most of the late 2000’s, 3 airlines flew in between Fresno and Vegas, consisting of SkyWest (United Express), America West (US Airways), and Allegiant Air. An mean of roughly 100,000 passengers per year flew between Fresno and Vegas in the years leading approximately 2011, once US Airways traction almost all of its non-hub flying out of las Vegas (SkyWest pulled out of the route for the same reasons a pair of years later). Allegiant Air, one ultra low-cost carrier, has had actually a syndicate on the Fresno to las vegas route ever before since. While need has remained strong, only about 72,000 passengers flew indigenous Fresno to las vegas in 2019, definition there is most likely room for one more carrier ~ above the route. Based on the continued solid demand to Vegas, the continued all at once growth of passengers at FAT, and the reluctance of part Fresnans to attend to Allegiant’s “ultra low cost” service model, it’s most likely that Southwest will do an extremely well with Vegas-bound travelers native Fresno.

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Another factor why las Vegas is together a most likely candidate for service from Fresno is the variety of connecting methods there. Southwest supplies non-stop flights come 55 destinations from ras Vegas, making it one of the airline’s largest hubs. Ras Vegas is close enough to Fresno the it makes sense for both onward (eastbound) connections, and connections to some West shore cities, such as Reno, Seattle, and also Portland. Considering the large demand for take trip to ras Vegas native Fresno, the proximity that the 2 airports, and also the diversity that connecting choices at LAS, it would certainly be exceptionally surprising no to view Las las vegas as one of the very first destinations the Southwest uses from Fresno.

Courtesy that Southwest Airlines
2. Denver (DEN)

If Denver were any type of closer come Fresno, the would probably be the most most likely initial destination for Southwest. Denver has grown stability to come to be Southwest’s biggest hub in the western half of the joined States, serving almost 20 an ext non-stop destinations than las Vegas. Notable among the non-stop destinations Southwest uses from Denver that it doesn’t from ras Vegas are brand-new York LaGuardia (LGA), Washington Dulles (IAD), Philadelphia (PHL), and also Boston (BOS). Denver additionally has very solid demand indigenous Fresno as a last destination, finishing 2019 as the fourth most well-known non-stop domestic city.

Denver finishes second to ras Vegas for a couple of reasons. The an initial is that it’s much more away than Vegas, making few of the connecting destinations it supplies not helpful for passengers arriving from Fresno (hardly anyone is walking to fly to Denver to then connect back to san Diego, Oakland, LA, or Portland, for example). The 2nd is that Southwest has presented that it prefers to start serving brand-new airports with shorter routes, and Las las vegas is less than half the street from Fresno the Denver is. Still, it would certainly be really surprising not to watch at the very least one day-to-day flight native Fresno come Denver as part of Southwest’s early stage offerings to provide Fresno accessibility to every one of the connecting options that are available there.

3. Phoenix (PHX)

Phoenix is another popular final destination from Fresno and also another large hub for Southwest. American airline been gradually been upguaging the flights native Fresno come Phoenix, and future schedules display multiple mainline flights per day from FAT come PHX in 2021. Allegiant tried flying to a secondary airport in Phoenix in the mid-2010’s, and also while those flights were no successful, they did show that the Phoenix region is a famous final destination for Fresnans. While Southwest’s PHX hub supplies fewer destinations than Denver, it’s likewise closer 보다 DEN, and also it has actually some connecting avenues that las vegas does not. The one thing working versus Phoenix is the it would certainly not really include much in the method of connecting choices to Fresno if Southwest determined to serve both ras Vegas and also Denver. Due to the fact that of that, Phoenix is no a lock for being in Southwest’s initial supplying from Fresno, yet its condition as a large hub and also popular location from Fresno still puts that solidly at #3.

4. Mountain Diego (SAN)

San Diego has actually been an extremely popular destination from Fresno since Alaska Airlines began non-stop service, and Southwest might try to steal few of the almost 100% industry share that the Seattle-based airline enjoys top top the route. Alaska has actually been steadily farming its FAT-SAN route, and also will offer 4 flights every day in the summer the 2021. When Southwest walk not have actually an especially huge number that connecting alternatives in san Diego, the does paris from mountain non-stop to two renowned vacation destinations because that Fresnans: Honolulu and Los Cabos. Presumably, Southwest might offer a one-stop alternative to one or both the those holidays destinations native Fresno through San Diego, and capture plenty of passengers bound just for san Diego in ~ the very same time. Prefer Phoenix, mountain Diego is not a slam dunk because that Southwest from Fresno, yet it is certainly high up on the perform of options.

5. Oakland (OAK)

As mentioned earlier, Southwest is likely to choose destinations the are relatively close come Fresno because that its initial offerings. Because of this, it’s quite possible that Southwest will decide to market flights indigenous Fresno come Oakland. Oakland is a large focus city because that Southwest, however it likewise does no offer nearly as numerous non-stop destinations as las Vegas, Denver, or Phoenix. Additionally, Oakland go not have an especially big amount of need for “O&D” take trip from Fresno (meaning the very couple of people would only fly only to Oakland – many people would rather drive come the only Area than fly).

What Oakland does offer, however, are many connections to Hawaii and the Pacific Northwest, two areas that are daunting to get to with Denver, Phoenix, or Vegas. Southwest has shown that it will run routes based practically solely top top connecting traffic (the airline flies from Colorado Springs come Denver – a trip that deserve to take as little as 15 minutes and also is around as lengthy of a expedition as Fresno to Modesto), so it would certainly not be how amazing to see Oakland among Southwest’s early stage destinations indigenous FAT.

6. Los Angeles (LAX)

Los Angeles is top top this perform for few of the same reasons that Oakland is: it’s reasonably close to Fresno, and it’s a emphasis city because that Southwest. Over there is slightly more demand for travel to southerly California together a final (O&D) location from Fresno than there is to the only Area, and two airlines have added brand-new service from Fresno come Los Angeles in the past year. However, Southwest go not right now offer flights from Los angle to Hawaii, and LAX is further from the Pacific Northwest 보다 OAK is, meaning LAX go not include a many connecting choices over the airports listed above it. All of this together renders Los Angeles slightly less likely than Oakland.