By Conor Shine / www.dallasnews.com / July 17th, 2018
Four years after it started ferrying passengers across the border to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, Southwest Airlines is taking its cargo business international as well.
The company officially began its international shipping program on Sunday to Mexico City, with plans to add the service to three other Mexican destinations. Eventually, the carrier plans to add cargo services to other destinations in its growing international network of more than a dozen destinations.
“Our teams have been hard at work getting ready for this historic milestone, and now we’re set to take our award-winning cargo services to places we’ve never been able to reach before,” Southwest’s Vice President of Cargo and Charters Matt Buckley said in a statement.
The international service was enabled by a new back office and point of sale software system that was put in place this spring, the company said.
While it doesn’t generate nearly as much money as carrying passengers, cargo service is a key tool for airlines to help bolster the economics of routes by making use of unused space in the belly of an aircraft.
Southwest reported freight revenues of $173 million in 2017, less than 1 percent of its overall revenue of $21 billion.
By comparison, American Airlines, which operates a global network of destinations, reported $800 million of cargo revenue in 2017, just under 2 percent of its total revenues for the year.
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