Expanding Southwest Airlines making presence felt in Denver; Low-cost carrier adds cities, flights, sees more growth ahead

Southwest Airlines is set to launch its biggest expansion in Denver since arriving in the city nearly two years ago. The Dallas-based carrier on Sunday adds 14 new, daily departures and five additional destinations to its roster here, cementing...

Southwest also says it has a higher percentage of passengers - when compared with the number of available seats it offers - who originate in Denver than United or Frontier.

"We are happy with our revenue performance, and our traffic is growing a lot," Prichard said. "We're seeing great increases, and we think that's encouraging."

Although it hasn't captured as much of the market as in other new cities, Denver is a different beast. Frontier and United already were competing aggressively here, meaning it was a tougher market to penetrate than those with just one dominant carrier.

"Denver is one of the few places where there was already a concentration of low-cost service," said Ron Kuhlmann, a transportation consultant with the firm Unisys. "This may be the future in terms of where the industry is going, where a lot of the low-cost guys for the first time are in competition with each other. This could be a bellwether."

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