Category Archives: Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines’ incoming CEO says carrier will cut flights next year if staffing falls short

From CNBC:

Southwest announces its new routes through April 24, 2022

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7BD WL N7713A (msn 33919) BUR (Michael B. Ing). Image: 955029.

Southwest Airlines today announced it has extended its bookable flight schedule through April 24, 2022.

The airline is expanding its network of service next year between key business and leisure destinations, bringing nearly two-dozen new flights to Austin, offering additional options for Hawaii travelers, and flying new point-to-point routes between the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Austin’s Hometown Carrier Expands

With the population of Texas’ capital city continuing to grow, Southwest® is investing more service than ever before in central Texas. Already the largest carrier serving Austin for at least three decades, Southwest plans to increase service on March 10, 2022 by more than 20 flights a day with nonstop service between Austin and nine new and returning destinations, as well as add additional frequencies on routes already served from the capital of Texas. In total, Southwest now will offer nonstop service between Austin and 46 destinations on up to 105 departures a day.

New Destinations
Beginning March 10, 2022, Southwest’s schedule includes daily nonstop service between:

Austin and Amarillo, Texas
Austin and Charleston, S.C.
Austin and Columbus, Ohio (will also operate during peak holiday travel periods in 2021)
Austin and Midland/Odessa, Texas (previously flown nonstop in 2009)
Austin and Ontario, Calif.

More Beaches, Please

On March 12, 2022, Southwest plans to start new international service between Austin and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, subject to requisite government approvals. The same day, seasonal weekly flights are scheduled to return on Saturdays between:

Austin and Panama City Beach, Fla.
Austin and Sarasota/Bradenton
Austin and Destin/Fort Walton Beach

This week also marks a major milestone for Southwest Airlines and the Austin community. The airline first began serving Austin on Sept. 15, 1977.

Winter and Spring Flights between the Mainland and Hawaii

Beginning Feb. 17, 2022, Southwest is prepared to give Customers across the country more options to reach Hawaii, with additional connections made possible by increased service on existing routes, such as:

Phoenix and Honolulu (two daily roundtrips*)
San Diego and Kona (one daily roundtrip)
Sacramento and Kona (one roundtrip on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays)
San Jose, Calf. and Lihue (one daily roundtrip)
San Diego and Maui (two daily roundtrips*)
Sacramento and Maui (daily service with an additional roundtrip on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays)
*initial eastbound service from Hawaii to both Phoenix and San Diego begins Feb. 18, 2022

New Domestic and International Routes

Building on its foundation as a point-to-point airline, starting Jan. 17, 2022, Southwest’s schedule now includes nonstop service between Albuquerque and Burbank, giving Customers traveling between New Mexico and the San Fernando Valley a quicker journey.

Southwest also is giving Customers new ways to get passport stamps with new and returning international routes. On February 17, 2022, Southwest plans to resume seasonal daily nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. On March 12, 2022, the airline plans to start seasonal nonstop service on Saturdays between Denver and Cozumel, Mexico, subject to requisite government approvals.

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7BD WL N7713A (msn 33919) BUR (Michael B. Ing). Image: 955029.

Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show:

Maryland Board of Public Works approves new Southwest Airlines maintenance facility at BWI

The Maryland Board of Public Works today approved two contracts for the construction and operation of a major Southwest Airlines maintenance facility at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). The Board, chaired today by Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, approved a $44.6 million construction contract to develop the site and lease agreement for Southwest Airlines to build and operate the maintenance facility.

Graphic showing the exterior of a planned Southwest Airlines aircraft maintenance facility at BWI Marshall Airport

“This is a particularly exciting project and long-term partnership that will benefit the State of Maryland for years to come,” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “This would be another key maintenance facility for Southwest Airlines, and enhances an established long term and strategic relationship. Our administration continues to support BWI as a major transportation hub, as well as a catalyst for tourism, trade, and economic development.”

The 27-acre site will include a hangar to accommodate up to three Boeing 737 aircrafts and an apron space to accommodate up to eight Southwest Airlines jets, along with associated office and workshop space. The maintenance facility cost is estimated around $135 million, which includes an investment of approximately $90 million from the airline.

“Southwest Airlines began serving BWI Marshall Airport 28 years ago, and we are honored to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to the airport, and to Maryland, by progressing with plans to build a first-class maintenance hangar to support our Employees and Customers,” said Landon Nitschke, Southwest’s Senior Vice President of Technical Operations. “We appreciate the State of Maryland for the continued support of Southwest’s growth, investment, and presence at BWI Marshall Airport. We look forward to marking this next milestone in Southwest’s continued service to the region.”

“This action today underscores the longstanding, successful partnership between Southwest Airlines and the State of Maryland,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Greg Slater. “As our economy and our transportation networks continue to recover from the effects of the pandemic, this is a project that will benefit the airport and the airline while supporting jobs.”

The new maintenance facility will be the first in the Northeastern United States for Southwest Airlines. Southwest Airlines currently serves about 70 percent of passenger traffic at BWI. According to the airline, there are more than 4,000 Southwest employees at BWI, including technical and maintenance personnel.

Graphic showing the exterior and parking area of a planned Southwest Airlines aircraft maintenance facility at BWI Marshall Airport

“We thank the Board of Public Works for supporting this major addition,” said Ricky Smith, Executive Director for BWI Marshall Airport. “For more than 25 years, Southwest Airlines has served our market with excellent customer service and efficient flights to many domestic and international destinations. We look forward to this next chapter of the airline’s history at BWI Marshall Airport.”

BWI has seen a strong rebound in passenger traffic as the state continues its recovery from the pandemic. While still below 2019 figures, the airport’s departing passenger traffic in August was up 120% from the same period in August 2020. About 95% of airport food and retail concessions are now open at BWI.

Southwest offers incentives for vaccinated employees

Southwest Airlines is joining other airlines by offering incentives to vaccinated employees.

The airline’s incentives include 16 hours of extra pay to vaccinated employees who show proof of vaccinations and it will pay for 13 trip segments for pilots and flight attendants.

The airline will also terminate COVID-19 pay protections for staff after November 15 if they are unvaccinated.

Southwest announces leadership changes, announces a fall sales campaign

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8809L (msn 65439) BUR (Michael B. Ing). Image: 955033.

Southwest Airlines made this leadership announcement:

Tom Nealon, 60, has decided to retire from his duties as President effective immediately, but will continue to serve the Company as a strategic advisor, focusing primarily on the airline’s environmental sustainability and carbon emissions reduction plan. Nealon has held numerous leadership positions during his tenure with the airline, including Executive Vice President Strategy & Innovation from 2016 to 2017, Director on the Southwest Board from 2010 to 2015, and in a consultant capacity as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer from 2002 to 2006.

“I’m honored to have served Southwest throughout the years in several different capacities, and especially to have been President of the best airline in the business,” Nealon said. “I look forward to continuing to serve and advise Southwest on strategic initiatives, and most importantly, on the airline’s long-term environmental sustainability plans.”

Gary Kelly, Southwest’s Chairman and CEO, announced on behalf of the Southwest Airlines Board of Directors that Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven, 59, has been named as the Company’s President, effective immediately. Van de Ven will take on the additional responsibilities of the Company’s Internal Audit, Business Continuity, Emergency Response, and Enterprise Risk Management functions.

“I want to thank Tom for his countless contributions to the cause that is Southwest Airlines over the years—they are many and immeasurable. I’m grateful Tom will continue serving as a strategic advisor. I’m thrilled for Mike as he assumes his new role as President, in addition to COO. Mike is as talented and dedicated a leader as one will find, and he has directly contributed to Southwest’s success during his 28 years serving the Company and our People.

“The transition efforts being led by Executive Vice President and incoming CEO Bob Jordan are going extremely well, and as that continues, we are taking steps to shift reporting roles in preparation for Bob to assume the CEO role on February 1, 2022,” said Kelly.

As the transition progresses, the Finance, Commercial, Legal & Regulatory, Operations, and Technology teams that were reporting to Kelly or Nealon will now report to Jordan, also effective immediately.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I’d like to thank Tom for his nearly five-year tenure as President and more than 15 years of service to our Southwest Airlines Employees, Customers, Shareholders, and the Communities we serve,” said Southwest Airlines Lead Director William Cunningham. “We are extremely proud to have such a talented and robust leadership bench at Southwest Airlines, and are delighted with the announcement of Mike Van de Ven as Tom’s successor.”

Southwest Airlines also announced additional Senior Leader promotions:

  • Laurie Barnett, from Managing Director Communications & Outreach, to Vice President of Communications & Outreach. Barnett is responsible for guiding the efforts of the airline’s Public Relations & Communications, Creative Studio, Digital & Social Business, and Community Outreach functions. She also helped create and provided Leadership support for the Company’s Emergency Response, Business Continuity and Enterprise Risk Management functions.
  • Ryan Martinez, from Managing Director Investor Relations, to Vice President of Investor Relations. Martinez has been instrumental in evolving Southwest’s IR strategies and communications along with the changing economic environment. Under his Leadership, Southwest is well-positioned to continue effectively communicating with investors while the Company manages through the pandemic.
  • Juan Suarez, from Managing Director, Deputy General Counsel in the Legal Department to Vice President Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. Suarez serves as Southwest’s executive-level champion for organizational goals related to diversity, equity, and inclusion both internally and externally. Among other things, Suarez is responsible for creating and driving the development of diversity initiatives that align with our business objectives and advises on policies and practices involving diversity, equity, and inclusion. He will partner closely with peers throughout the Company on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts as it applies to, among other things, supplier diversity, diversity hiring and recruiting, and training.
  • Marilyn Post, from Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary to Vice President Legal and Corporate Secretary. Post heads the Legal Department’s Corporate & Transactions Team, which is responsible for assisting with the legal aspects of all of Southwest’s securities and transactional matters. She also serves as a senior advisor to the Company’s Board of Directors and Executive Team on corporate governance, executive compensation, and SEC matters.
  • Lauren Woods, from Managing Director Technology, to Vice President Technology-Technology Platforms. Woods and her Teams are responsible for delivering stable technology platforms and driving transformation efforts across Technology. Under her leadership, the Technology teams will continue to focus on building out new modern foundational platforms used and leveraged by development Teams to increase efficiency and speed to market.

“I am pleased with the Team’s flexibility and support as we continue the steady pace of our Leadership transition efforts,” Jordan said. “I am looking forward to working with Tom on our sustainability imperatives and collaborating with Mike as we set the agenda for the Company moving forward. I know Gary joins me in congratulating Lauren, Laurie, Marilyn, Juan, and Ryan on their well-deserved promotions; we are fortunate to have a deeply talented bench of Southwest Leaders.”

In other news, the company also launched its fall Wanna Get Away® campaign with fares as low as $59 one-way for a fall getaway. Customers can book today through Sept. 27, 2021, 11:59 p.m. Central Daylight Time, pack their bags for a trip valid Oct. 4, 2021, through Dec. 15, 2021 (for continental U.S., continental U.S. to/from Hawaii, inter-island Hawaii, and international travel), and get ready for a fall-tastic getaway.

With the carrier’s low fares, Legendary Hospitality, and flexible policies (including no cancellation fees, no change fees, and bags fly free®)*, Southwest® is ready to take Customers on their next office or school getaway.

  • As low as $59 one-way nonstop between Houston (Hobby) and Corpus Christi,
  • As low as $59 one-way nonstop between Atlanta and Jackson, Miss.,
  • As low as $59 one-way nonstop between Oakland and Eugene, Ore.,
  • As low as $67 one-way nonstop between Nashville and Savannah/Hilton Head, and
  • As low as $99 one-way nonstop between Denver and Santa Barbara, Calif.

*At Southwest Airlines, there are no change fees (fare difference may apply), no cancellation fees (failure to cancel a reservation at least 10 minutes prior to scheduled departure may result in forfeited travel funds), and bags fly free (first and second checked bags, weight and size limits apply).

**Advanced purchase and blackout date requirements apply; seats, days, and markets are limited. 

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX 8 N8809L (msn 65439) BUR (Michael B. Ing). Image: 955033.

Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show:

Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 WL N214WN (msn 32486) (Maryland One) BWI (Tony Storck). Image: 954921.

Updated 2021 "Maryland One" with new tail

Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 WL N214WN (msn 32486) (Maryland One) BWI (Tony Storck). Image: 954921.

SWAPA lawsuit accuses Southwest of ignoring union bargaining duties during pandemic

From Reuters:

“The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA) filed a complaint in federal court in Dallas on Monday claiming that Southwest should have collectively bargained with the union instead of giving itself “force majeure” rights when air travel plummeted during the pandemic.

The union claims Southwest implemented an “emergency time off” program, altered schedules, and scaled back prescription drug and retirement benefits without bargaining, in violation of federal labor law.

It asked the court for an injunction, forcing the airline to stick to the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, which lapsed on Aug. 31, 2020, until a new agreement is reached.”

Read the full article:

Southwest Airlines to cut its schedule in an attempt to fix operational issues


Southwest Airlines has announced it will eliminate an average of 27 flights a day from its schedule from September 7 through October 6 and will also cancel 162 flights a day from October 7 through November 5.

Southwest also plans to adjust its flight schedules in November and December, but the airline said it would protect holiday bookings.

‘We’re not out of the woods yet’: Southwest admits struggles will continue as employee gripes grow

From USA Today:

Southwest Airlines and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers reach tentative agreement for customer service employees

Southwest Airlines and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) have reached a Tentative Agreement for Southwest’s more than 5,000 Customer Service Employees.

“The parties concluded these negotiations with an agreement designed to reward our hard-working Employees, support future market expansion for Southwest, and increase our overall efficiency,” said Vice President of Labor Relations Russell McCrady. “We appreciate the work by both Negotiating Committees, along with the assistance of the National Mediation Board, to get us to this point.”

Composed of the Company’s Customer Service Agents, Customer Representatives, and Source of Support Representatives, these Employees deliver excellent Customer Service by helping our Customers get to their destinations, whether that is taking a phone call to change a Customer’s travel plans or assisting a Customer or fellow Employee on the ground at one of the airports we serve.

The IAM will communicate to its membership the details of the Tentative Agreement and the ratification process.