Southwest Airlines execs talk future of business travel and San Antonio

Airline is working with area business leaders to find their travel needs

Southwest Airlines executives were in town Monday for a meeting with business leaders about the future of business travel.

SAN ANTONIO – Did you know Southwest Airlines was drawn up right here in San Antonio? It was literally drawn on a napkin at a bar, inside The St. Anthony, a Luxury Collection Hotel back in the late 60s.

Southwest Airlines executives were in town Wednesday for a meeting with business leaders about the future of business travel.

When the pandemic hit, millions of business flyers cancelled their plans.

“Starting last spring 2020, demand basically evaporated overnight,” David Harvey, vice president of Southwest business said.

David Harvey said it was a tough time to be in the airline industry, but Southwest actually was able to make some big moves.

“We added 18 new cities to our route map during the pandemic,” Harvey said.

If you’ve been to the airport recently you’ve probably noticed it is busy, and leisure travel numbers like families going from point A to point B is seemingly back, so the next big concentration is business travel.

“We are focused on the business segment in business travel. So, the leisure segment this June, July was effectively back. But the missing gap in the overall traffic patterns is businesses, not just that transient travel needing to get in and out of San Antonio for a quick meeting, but groups, conventions, exhibits,” Harvey said.

Hospitality and leisure is a big part of our local economy and san Antonio continues to grow.

“As we partner with the San Antonio airport, we’re thinking about the future design, the future travel experience and how we can meet those needs,” Harvey said.

Harvey said Southwest is using the voices of business leaders to find their travel needs including routes and frequency.

“That’s really the model for our network planning team to assess, what is the next best opportunity. So San Antonio has a lot of exciting room to grow,” Harvey said.


About the Authors:

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.