Southwest Airlines will begin service to Newark’s Liberty International Airport next March in a move that was actually encouraged by United/Continental.
Southwest already serves La Guardia and Islip/Long Island, but will add service to Continental’s East Coast hub in a deal arranged by CO to allay merger anti-trust concerns. Continental and United plan to cede 36 slots (enough for 18 r/ts a day) to Southwest. It is not clear yet whether this slot transaction will lead to any service cutbacks on United or Continental, but I doubt we’ll notice any changes.
"We think this would be a fair solution that would allow Continental and United to create an airline that will provide customers with an unparalleled global network and top quality products and services, while enhancing domestic competition at Newark," said Jeff Smisek, Continental’s chairman, president and chief executive.
The deal with Southwest is contingent upon a successful merger of United and Continental, set to conclude on November 30.
While it is a myth that Southwest always offers the lowest fares, the "Southwest Effect" is certainly not a myth. EWR is only a short train ride away and I would have no qualms with journeying up Newark for more trips if I start seeing some great deals next spring.