Dec. 18--HARLINGEN -- Southwest Airlines will discontinue two non-stop flights from Valley International Airport, but will add an additional flight to Houston.
The Dallas-based airline is eliminating its non-stop service from VIA to San Antonio and Dallas-Love effective June 7.
Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins cited high fuel costs and low passenger demand for the schedule change, and said short-haul domestic air travel has fallen short since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Travelers will still be able to reach Dallas and San Antonio, but will need to fly through Houston Hobby Airport, Hawkins said.
As of September, the last month statistics were available, more than two-thirds of VIA passengers traveled through Southwest Airlines.
"The airline eliminates routes that are not performing to our economic targets," Hawkins said, adding that a full plane doesn't necessarily mean a sustainable route.
Southwest Airlines will add another flight between VIA and Hobby, where international air service is scheduled to begin in 2015.
Hobby broke ground on the new international terminal in September.
Harlingen was one of Southwest's original airports, beginning service to the Rio Grande Valley in 1975.
The region remains very important to the airline, Hawkins said.
"We still have the lowest airfare for our travelers," Hawkins said.
Jose Mulet, VIA's director of business development, said the schedule change will give travelers more options.
In a related matter, Delta Airlines will begin seasonal service between Minneapolis and VIA, with one non-stop flight daily starting Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Copyright 2013 - Valley Morning Star, Harlingen, Texas
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