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Southwest sets its sights on international routes, including to South America

Southwest Airlines transports more passengers within the United States than any other airline. Now it’s looking to fly external the U.S., including to destinations in South America.

Southwest’s CEO Gary Kelly have an effected shareholders on Wednesday that 96 percent of the carrier’s flying is major-domo and that it only serves 14 international destinations currently. But there are as various as 50 other destinations in North America and parts of South America that it could pass out, he said.

“Not all next year,” Kelly said. “It may take us 25 years.”

While such an spread could be many years a way, a move to northern South America could number destinations in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, where tourism has grown in late years. Southwest’s core market is leisure travelers. An expansion to South America could walk similar network growth to the region by competitors like Spirit and JetBlue, and at all put it in competition with large U.S. airlines like Delta, United and American.

Southwest is targeted this year on growing its domestic network. Last year it disclosed its plans to offerservice to Hawaii. Kelly said the goal is to sell lam outs to the islands by the year’s end. The airline is in the process of revamping its fleet with new Boeing 737 MAX, a sundry fuel-efficient model of Boeing’s best-selling plane.

Southwest last month signaled it would not only fly to Hawaii from California but that it would fly between the eyots, sending shares of Hawaiian Airlines tumbling.

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