Southwest Airlines has announced it is trimming four flights each day between Seattle and Spokane starting Jan. 8, reducing passenger choices in getting to the West Coast air corridor.
The announcement on Monday was part of a package of schedule changes that will result in 102 fewer flights in a cost-cutting move by the nationwide carrier.
The two current inbound flights from Seattle and the two departures from Spokane to Seattle are being cut, leaving no direct flights between Spokane and Seattle on Southwest.
Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air have been strong in serving that corridor over the years.
Spokane passengers will still be able to get to Southwest destinations through Portland and other hub cities such as Denver and Phoenix.
The changes were published Monday for the period from Jan. 8 through March 9.
Airline officials said the shifts in capacity of the Southwest system are due to a seasonal slowing of demand during the winter and an effort to match the supply of routes and seats to passenger needs.
They also described the moves as “a continued pruning of unproductive flying due to high fuel costs.”
Brad Hawkins, spokesman for Southwest, said the change represents a shifting of resources to maximize efficiency.
“The economics of the flight weren’t working for us,” he said.
Expansion of service from Denver in recent years has been an advantage for Spokane passengers because it provides new connections to U.S. destinations. Southwest currently has 140 flights out of Denver.
Chicago and Las Vegas are other hub centers for Southwest, he said.