Southwest (LUV) Starts Offering International Flights

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Southwest Airlines (LUV) announced Monday that it will start offering international flights on July 1.

Shares of the airline fell 1.3% to $20.57.

The airline is now selling tickets for flights to Aruba, the Bahamas, and Jamaica out of Atlanta, Baltimore, and Orlando. AirTran Airways, which Southwest acquired in 2011, currently handles those routes. In July Southwest will take them over.

Southwest may also take over four AirTran destinations in Mexico and the Dominican Republic later in 2014. The airline may also add international flights from Houston and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., among other U.S. cities. Those routes may not come until 2015 or later, however.

Prior to the announcement Southwest was the only major U.S. airline that did not offer international flights.

TheStreet Ratings team rates Southwest as a "buy" with a ratings score of B+. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate SOUTHWEST AIRLINES (LUV) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its impressive record of earnings per share growth, revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, solid stock price performance and good cash flow from operations. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows low profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

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