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SOUTHWEST PLANS TO OFFER DISCOUNT FARES NATIONWIDE

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Southwest Airlines plans to offer its discount fares nationwide, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

The Dallas-based airline may hit the skies nationwide as early as November, extending its current low-fare, frequent-flight service with flights to Boston, the Journal said, citing sources familiar with the carrier's plans.The airline reportedly also is planning to fly to secondary airports, including Providence, R.I., and Manchester, N.H.

Southwest executives declined to comment on their plans, which are not yet finalized, or to identify specific airports included in the expansion. But the airline has been scouting small-city airports located near major population centers, the Journal said.

Southwest has become the major carrier on short-haul routes across the country, with the exception of the Northeast.

Its low fares could pressure major long-haul carriers with premium fares to lower their prices, the newspaper said.