Southwest Airlines (WN, Dallas Love Field) is considering opening a flight crew base at its eighth busiest port - Nashville Int'l. CEO Bob Jordan says the ULCC already has 800 employees working at the airport servicing the six million Southwest passengers who fly in and out of Nashville every year. Jordan says a flight crew base - including flight attendant and pilots- at the airport, potentially first operating as a smaller satellite base, is under consideration.

"A lot of that depends on where you want to originate flights, where you want to have aircraft overnight, but I’ll just tell you we are looking at that and there is a possibility that Nashville becomes a base,” Jordan told the Nashville Business Journal.

According to the ch-aviation PRO airports module, Southwest Airlines is the biggest airline customer at Nashville, offering 141,541 seats (or 52.67% of the airport's total seat capacity) in the week starting September 26. The airline is operating 907 flights across the same week, or 46.99% of the total flights in and out of Nashville this week.

The second largest airline customer at the airport, American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth), offers 34,765 seats in and out of Nashville this week on 282 flights. Delta Air Lines (DL, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson) and United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) take the third and fourth spots respectively. The Southwest CEO says while the new flight crew base is a priority, it isn't the top priority.

"Job one right now is for us to get our whole network restored back to what it was before the pandemic, we’re just not there. We’re maybe 80% to 85% there right now. So before we put a lot of investment into new places and growing new places, we’ve got to get the network restored, which basically means we need to get more depth back in some markets," said Jordan.

"We are close to gate constraint right now (at Nashville). We are at 16 gates and will get the four new gates at the end of next year, and that will help a ton. We are going to grow here, Nashville is a huge focus city for us and the flights we put here are successful."

Southwest's additional gates come via Nashville Airport's USD1.4 billion dollar "New Horizon" construction and renovation plan that will see extensions and improvements around the airport, including new gates along Concourses A and D. Work will be ongoing until 2028 with further gates made available to Southwest Airlines as individual building works come to an end.

Jordan says the airport improvements, along with its geostrategic position and growing demand for flights to and from the city, are key reasons why a Nashville crew base is on the agenda.

Southwest has flight attendant bases at Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson, Baltimore Thurgood Marshall, Dallas Love Field, Chicago O'Hare, Denver Int'l, Houston Hobby, Las Vegas Harry Reid, Los Angeles Int'l, Chicago O'Hare, Oakland, and Phoenix Sky Harbor.