Southwest Airlines 737-300. By Rob Finlayson

Southwest Airlines (SWA) filed an application Monday with the US Dept. of Transportation (DOT) for slots at Washington National (DCA), attempting to take advantage of the recently passed FAA reauthorization legislation's (ATW Daily News, Feb. 8) approval of new flights beyond DCA's 1,250 mi. perimeter.

SWA, which has long had a dominant presence at Baltimore/Washington (BWI) but no presence at DCA, said it would operate daily flights from DCA to Austin Bergstrom (AUS) and one-stop, same aircraft service from DCA to San Diego (SAN) via AUS. SWA did gain access to DCA through its acquisition of AirTran Airways and has stated its plans to convert AirTran operations at the airport to SWA-branded flying (ATW Daily News, Jan. 24). SWA also operates out of Washington Dulles.

The Dallas-based low-cost carrier said it would operate the DCA-AUS-SAN flights with a 175-seat Boeing 737-800. SWA expects a decision from DOT in May, and said it is ready to start the service this summer.