Southwest plans return to San Francisco

After six years apart, Southwest and San Francisco International Airport are kissing and making up. The low-cost carrier plans to resume service to and from SFO "in a meaningful way" later this year. No specific details have yet been released.

Southwest previously operated from SFO for 20 years prior to discontinuing that service in 2001. Gary Kelly, Southwest's CEO, says that SFO is now "a more cost-efficient airport, and Southwest is a far larger airline than it was in 2001 and better able to support this type of operation."

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"The business reasons for leaving San Francisco in 2001 were clear," adds Kelly. "Back then, facility and runway constraints meant we could not compete and be profitable, and there was no growth potential beyond the 14 flights we had at the time. Frankly, we had demand at our other California airports that we knew would be successful. It made more sense to leave."

The airline says its return to SFO will not affect its "commitment" to Oakland and San Jose.

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