Southwest Airlines Co., the nation’s largest low-fare carrier, announced Friday it will begin service at San Francisco International Airport in August with 18 flights and cut-rate introductory fares on its initial departures to San Diego, Las Vegas and Chicago.
The 18 nonstop departures starting Aug. 26 represent the airline’s largest initial new-city schedule in its history, and beats its announcement in February to resume SFO service this fall with 14 flights. Southwest will resume SFO flights six years after it pulled out of the airport because of high costs, flight delays and restraints on growth.
“We’ve been longing to return to San Francisco,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s chief executive. “We beat our promise of coming back in the fall.”