Southwest Airlines: Background
Major U.S. airline and the biggest low-cost carrier in the
world; is headquartered in Dallas, Texas.
Founded in 1967 and took its current name in 1971.
Has, as of August 2012, over 46,000 employees and
operates over 3,400 flights every day.
Carries more domestic passengers than any other U.S.
airline as of June 5, 2011.
Has scheduled service to 89 destinations in 42 states and
Puerto Rico from August 2013.
Has only operated Boeing 737s, with the exception of a
few years in the 1970s and the 1980s, when it operated a
few Boeing 727s.
Biggest operator worldwide, from August 2012, of the 737
with more than 500 in service; each operate, on average,
six flights every day.
Bought AirTran Airways in May 2011; incorporation of the
two carriers is anticipated to conclude by 2014.
The company was given a single operating certificate,
which theoretically makes Southwest and AirTran one
Southwest Airlines: Focus cities
Baltimore–Washington International Airport
Chicago Midway International Airport
Dallas Love Field
Denver International Airport
Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport
Lambert–St. Louis International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport
McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas)
Nashville International Airport
Oakland International Airport
Orlando International Airport
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
San Diego International Airport
William P. Hobby Airport (Houston)
Southwest Airlines: Headquarters
The headquarters of Southwest is located on the grounds
of Dallas Love Field in the Love Field neighborhood of
Southwest began breaking ground on a new Training and
Operational Support (TOPS) building on 17 September
The TOPS building is across the street from the current
This property is made up of a two-story, 100,000-square
foot operations building that can survive an F3 tornado; it
also comprises a four-story, 392,000-square foot office
and training facility with two levels given to every task.
Housed in the new facilities will be 24-hour coordination
and maintenance operations, customer support and
services, and training.
The project designer was BOKA Powell; the general
service provider was Manhattan Construction.
The project is due to be completed by the end of 2013;
occupancy is set to began in 2014.
Southwest Airlines: Destinations
Southwest, as of December 2013, flies scheduled services to 89
destinations in 42 states and Puerto Rico; from November 3,
2013, the newest destinations are Pensacola, FL, Memphis, TN,
Unlike most other major airlines, Southwest does not use the
more customary “hub and spoke” flight routing system, favoring
the “Point to Point” system.
It has particularly big operations in specific airports.
On average, 80 percent of Southwest passengers are local
passengers, which means only 20 percent of all passengers are
connecting passengers; this is most considerably higher than
most airlines, where passengers frequently connect in hub cities.
Conversely, at Southwest’s focus cities, the percentage of
connecting passengers can go up by almost as much as 30
percent; recent numbers suggest that the number of connecting
passengers is gradually increasing.
As part of its attempt to manage fees, Southwest uses minor
airports which normally have high fees.
Minor airports tend to have lower fees; they may also be more
suitable to travelers than bigger airports to the same
For instance, Southwest flies to Chicago-Midway and not the
larger Chicago O’Hare.
Southwest Airlines: Codeshare
Southwest is not currently a member of any major global
alliances, but it has a codeshare agreement with AirTran
Airways, which only began after Southwest bought
Southwest Airlines: Current fleet
The Southwest Airlines fleet includes the
following aircraft since December 2013:
Boeing 737-300 (electronic flight deck retrofit
terminated, 78 in process of being withdrawn)
Boeing 737-700 (choices adaptable to -800
Boeing 737 MAX 8 (set to enter service in 2017)
After it finished the acquirement of AirTran Airways, Southwest
added the former’s existing fleet of 737-700 aircraft to its fleet.
The 717s obtained from AirTran will not be added to the
Southwest fleet; they will instead be withdrawn and reassigned
to Delta Air Lines until late 2015.
Retrofitted electronic flight decks and mingled winglets are being
added to newer Boeing 737-300 variants to improve them and to
decrease operational fees; this retrofit will make the 737-300s
operationally well-suited to the 737-700 and support the airline’s
approach to the Global Positioning System allowing Required
Navigation Performance system.
Southwest announced a plan to add the Boeing 737-800 to the
Southwest fleet on December 15, 2010; on April 11, 2012 (one
year, sixteen months, and eleven days later), the 737-800 began
operations and has 175 seats, 38 more than the previous biggest
in the Southwest fleet.
All -800s comprise the Boeing Sky interior, and all Southwest
owned -800s are supplied with ETOPS capability.
Southwest put a firm order for 150 Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft on
December 13, 2011; this made it the launch purchaser for this
aircraft type, and first delivery is scheduled for 2017.
The Boeing Sky Interior will be included in all 737 MAX 8 aircraft.
Southwest was also the launch purchaser of the Boeing 737
MAX 7 aircraft, and it now has 30 MAX 7 on order; 2019 is the
expected year of the first delivery.
Southwest additionally announced an agreement to buy ten preowned 737-700s from WestJet for delivery in 2014 and 2015.
Boeing 737 MAX 7 (set to enter service in 2019)
Southwest is the biggest operator of the Boeing 737 in the world.
Boeing 737-500 (in process of being withdrawn)