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For Southwest, Bookings Beat Cancellations in May

The carrier says it’s seeing rising load factors and plans to add significant capacity in June and July

May 25, 2020

After more than two months of minimal business due to the coronavirus pandemic, Southwest Airlines says more customers are booking flights in May than are canceling. According to a regulatory filing by the carrier, load factors have risen to 25-30 percent in the month of May, over a dismal April load factor of 8 percent.

Even as competitors continue to cut flights, Southwest is planning major increases in seat capacity for June and July. With its heavy domestic schedule, the airline is scheduling about 2.1 million seats a week in June, up from 1.5 million in the middle of May.

Several US airlines have announced policies to limit flight loads, Southwest among them. The carrier says it is blocking about one-third of its seats but hasn’t been more specific about how that would work logistically.