>>>SWA has only ever left four markets in it's history: DEN
(re-entered later), and Beaumont, TX
. Their reason for leaving DTW
was the result of a rather nasty battle with NW
To reiterate, that's not the way it was re: Detroit. We started ops at DET, and it was a very peformance-restricted airport with a short runway, The runway was also narrower than most (100 ft wide versus the normal 150 ft) so that imposed my more stringent crosswind limitations, and when those occurred, we diverted to DTW
. Then we started service to DTW
(the diversions, when they occurred, went more smoothly). After unmet promises re: DET's improvement/expansion, we yanked the plug on DET and consolidated everything at DTW
. NWA had nothing to do with it.
As far as SWA having left DEN
(Stapleton) back in the 1980s, it had to do with the ATC delays that frequently occurred because of the centerline separation of 35L and 35R in IMC conditions, and the effect of those delays on the rest of the SWA system. The loads from DEN
were usually pretty good, as I recall, and had we stayed in DEN
and added more destinations, I think those loads would have been just as good, or better, since both UA
were pretty "high-cost" way back then.
Once Stapleton had been replaced with the much more expensive new airport, the costs of operating there were just too great compared to other airport costs in the SWA system. Theoretically, SWA might have -considered- operating at the new airport (before it was done), but once all the problems and delays at DIA caused the costs to increase even more (remember the baggage system?) there was just no way.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.