June 30--Southwest Airlines will begin offering flights between Burbank's Bob Hope Airport and San Francisco for the first time early next year, the company said Tuesday.
Dallas-based Southwest said it will have three flights a day between Burbank and San Francisco International Airport starting Jan. 6.
The service will be permanent, and some one-way tickets will be available for travel between Jan. 6 and May 8 next year for $49, company spokesman Brad Hawkins said. Those tickets must be bought between Wednesday and 11:59 p.m. Friday.
They are available on the company's web site.
Ticket prices will go up after the introductory period is over, but Hawkins could not say by how much.
The company, which has been flying out of Burbank for 25 years, already flies from Burbank to San Jose and Oakland. It also flies into San Francisco from other cities.
"We're already a very large carrier in San Francisco and added this service so you can fly into all three Bay Area airports from Burbank. It was just a matter of getting the aircraft," Hawkins said.
The company flies Boeing 737s that can carry 143 passengers.
Connecting Burbank to the Bay Area is also an opportunity to increase ticket sales.
"That's a very high-fare market. It made sense for us to do it. We feel there is an opportunity for lower fairs," he said.
United Airlines is currently the only carrier offering non-stop service between Burbank and San Francisco.
Airline fares vary widely, so just how much lower Southwest regular fares will be is unclear. For example, a one-way ticket between Burbank and San Francisco for a flight on Feb. 2, 2016, purchased Tuesday would cost $294 on Southwest and $305 on United, according to a search of both sites.
The last time Southwest added service out of Burbank was in 2011, when Denver was added to the schedule.
Southwest likes Burbank because the cost of doing business is lower than at bigger airports, and its size makes it more passenger friendly, Hawkins said.
Burbank officials are pleased about the three new daily flights to a popular destination.
"It will certainly round out the offering here that Southwest brings," said airport spokesman Victor Gill. "They are the biggest player here, and it's going to bring some competition to the San Francisco marketplace."
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