Southwest proudly flew its first international flights in July 2014. Since then, we have remained intentional about how and why we expand service to international destinations. We don’t want to become “just another airline with international service.” Rather, we seek to use our expanding global presence to better meet the needs of Customers and communities in the areas where we operate.
Whether in the air or on the ground, we seek to always Live and Work the Southwest Way, so that we can positively impact the lives of the People we serve. Because community is more than a place—it’s at the heart of what brings us together.
Cultural Exploration in Costa Rica
In 2018, we added flights to Liberia, Costa Rica helping more Customers than ever experience the country’s laid back pura vida lifestyle. And last summer, our service to Costa Rica also allowed us to broaden a few students’ educational horizons.
As part of a strategic plan that promotes student engagement, retention, and graduation by encouraging studies abroad, we provided 14 students from California State University, Fullerton with free airfare to study in Costa Rica. This diverse group of students learned from local experts about the Costa Rican coffee trade, medicinal plants, pre-Colombian foods, cultural innovation, grassroots social movements, and maintaining indigenous traditions.
In an increasingly more connected world, we champion causes that promote global experiences, help foster understanding of others, and promote connections that will empower communities to thrive.
Rebuilding Together in Mexico
We take pride in being a part of the communities we serve and believe that our activities can make a difference in People’s lives. Since 2016, we have teamed with our inflight coffee provider, Community® Coffee Company, and the ECOM Foundation to support coffee farming communities in remote regions of Mexico. For every pound of Community Signature Blend coffee served on Southwest flights in 2018, Southwest and Community Coffee helped fund educational programs in Mexico.
On Sept. 7, 2017, an 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck the Mexican states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Tabasco. Then on Sept. 19—less than two weeks later—the devastating Central Mexico Earthquake further rocked the country. We knew we had to help the People who were impacted.
Tapachula, Chiapas—an area that supplies some of Community’s coffee beans—was greatly impacted by these earthquakes. In continuation of our support for this region, donations from Southwest helped Community Coffee and the ECOM Foundation team up in 2018 to launch a sustainable housing project to help rebuild after the earthquake. This project focused on building homes for families located in the southern Mexico region where some of Community Arabica coffee beans are sourced. The families affected by the earthquake had new homes constructed using bamboo, a sustainable and low-cost material. The new structures are earthquake resilient, which will help provide the families with a more secure place to call home. We were thrilled to play a role in helping this Community rebuild.
Bringing Cargo to The Next Level
In July 2018, our Cargo Team began to serve international destinations—giving Customers the opportunity to reach new communities with our award-winning cargo service. While we’ve offered domestic cargo services for some time, it wasn’t until 2018 that Customers could use Southwest Cargo to ship to destinations in Mexico; San José, Costa Rica; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and Montego Bay, Jamaica. This expansion allows us to serve more Customers across the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean with our “relentlessly reliable” air cargo service.