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Southwest Airlines expands California service

LOS ANGELES -- Southwest Airlines, continuing to strengthen its California operation, said Tuesday it will add 14 intrastate flights in June and July, bringing its total flights to 156 in the California corridor.

Southwest, which has expanded rapidly in California during the past four years to become second only to United in market share, said it would add two round-trip flights between Oakland and Los Angeles; two between Oakland and Ontario; two between San Diego and Sacramento and one between Ontario and Sacramento.

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Southwest's discounting in California, where it has a top one-way intrastate fare of $64, helped launch several fare wars in 1989 and 1990 with United, Delta, America and USAir. The previous one-way fares had been as high as $164 from Los Angeles to San Francisco, a 400-mile flight that takes less than an hour.

USAir, which bought Pacific Southwest Airlines in 1986, pulled out of most of the California intrastate market last year and Southwest took over most of its gates and routes.

Analysts say the north-south traffic in the state is key for the majors, since they all operate hubs in California, with United in San Francisco, Delta in Los Angeles and American in San Jose.

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'We are moving as quickly as possible to meet the needs of our customers by adding additional service between popular California destinations,' said Don Valentine, Southwest's vice president-sales and marketing. 'Southwest has quickly become the No. 1 airline -- the people's choice airline -- in five out of the seven cities we serve in California.'

Dallas-based Southwest also said it would start new non-stop service between San Diego and Albuquerque, with one flight daily on July 13.

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