Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has announced a new tentative agreement with Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 555, the union that represents more than 12,000 Southwest Ground Operations, Provisioning, and Cargo Agents. The Union’s Executive Board reviewed an Agreement in Principle that negotiators reached on December 23 and decided to conduct a ratification vote that could end more than four years of negotiations.
The Company said that the new contract not only improves wages and benefits, but it also enhances Southwest’s competitive standing within the industry.
Over the next few weeks, the Union will share the terms of the agreement with its members and conduct a ratification vote. If approved, the contract will become amendable in 2021.
Southwest operates a network of 97 destinations across the United States and seven additional countries with more than 3,900 departures a day during peak travel season.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-3H4 N654SW (msn 28399) arrives at Los Angeles International Airport.
Record third quarter net income, excluding special items, of $623 million, or $.94 per diluted share. This represented a $241 million increase from third quarter 2014 and exceeded the Thomson Reuters First Call mean estimate of $.92 per diluted share.
Record third quarter GAAP net income of $584 million, or $.88 per diluted share, compared with third quarter 2014 GAAP net income of $329 million.
Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are very pleased to report outstanding third quarter 2015 results marked by a 63.1 percent year-over-year increase in net income, excluding special items. Our record third quarter operating income, excluding special items, of $1.0 billion produced a strong 20.3 percent operating margin, which is a 680 basis point improvement from the year-ago period. The significant margin expansion was driven largely by lower fuel prices. Our results also benefited from a continued focus on cost control and solid overall revenue performance, including a significant contribution from our Rapid Rewards program. Customer demand for our low fares was evident with an all-time quarterly record load factor of 85.4 percent for third quarter 2015. That’s what low fares without ‘gotcha’s’, which we call TransfarencySM, will do for you. My thanks to our superb Employees for producing our tenth consecutive quarter of record profits and my congratulations to them on their record $484 million profitsharing accrual, thus far this year.
Fleet and Capacity
During third quarter 2015, the Company received three pre-owned Boeing 737-700s to end the quarter with 692 aircraft. The Company continues to manage to approximately 700 aircraft at year-end 2015 and continues to expect to grow its fleet approximately two percent, year-over-year, in 2016. Additional information regarding the Company’s aircraft delivery schedule is included in the accompanying tables. The Company’s capacity plans remain unchanged with expected available seat mile growth of approximately seven percent this year, and an estimated five to six percent in 2016, both year-over-year.
Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has extended its flight schedule through October 30, 2015. The new schedule will bring more nonstop service and new destinations beginning August 9, 2015, for travelers flying Southwest in Santa Ana/Orange County, Washington, D.C. (Reagan National), and Columbus, Ohio.
The carrier will add service to both coasts from Port Columbus International Airport with the airport’s first daily nonstop flight to/from Oakland, and twice-daily service to/from Boston Logan International Airport.
Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-3H4 N644SW (msn 28329) in the new 2014 livery arrives at Baltimore/Washington (BWI). Southwest is gradually replacing its older Boeing 737s.
Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show (current livery):
Southwest Airlines (Dallas) is adding more nonstop flights and connections between Seattle/Tacoma and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Boston and Manchester and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport for the Super Bowl. The additional flights will only be offered between January 29 and February 2 to handle the anticipated increase in travelers.
Copyright Photo: Mark Durbin/AirlinersGallery.com. Southwest Airlines’ Boeing 737-3H4 N654SW (msn 28399) taxies to the runway at San Francisco International Airport.
Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show (new livery only):
Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has extended its flight schedule for travel through August 7, 2015, adding new, nonstop service in cities across the United States:
Southwest Airlines also began selling seats on daily service between Orange County/Santa Ana and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and seasonal, Saturday-only service between Baltimore/Washington (BWI) and San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, Mexico, beginning June 7, 2015 through August 7, 2015. Both routes subject to government approval.
The June and July schedule is the biggest in the history of Southwest Airlines with as many as 3,800 flights a day.
The flight schedule extension for early Summer 2015 also brings additional seasonal flights effective June 7, 2015 (unless otherwise noted), including nonstop service between:
Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Now repainted, Boeing 737-3H4 N654SW (msn 28399) arrives at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).
Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show (new livery only):
Southwest Airlines (Dallas) announced on December 3 that its Customer Service Agents (CSAs) and Customer Representatives (CRs), represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), have voted in favor of a new four-year contract. The agreement includes pay increases, as well as bonus opportunities that are tied to Company and Employee performance.
Southwest Airlines is approximately 83 percent unionized and actively engaged in negotiations with six out of its 12 unions. The airline is known for its friendly Customer Service and currently serves as the largest domestic carrier in terms of passengers boarded.
Copyright Photo: Jeffrey S. DeVore/AirlinersGallery.com. Southwest Airlines has started repainting the Boeing 737-300 fleet. Boeing 737-3H4 N640SW (msn 27713) is the first.
Southwest Airlines (Dallas) is also planning to make an announcement tomorrow (September 6). It is believed the company is planning to introduce a new livery too.
A Boeing 737-800 is expected to be rolled out tomorrow at Dallas’ Love Field showing a new blue, yellow and red color scheme.
Like Frontier, Southwest issued this short teaser comment:
We’ve been working on something special. And Monday, we’ll get to the heart of the matter.
DFWTower.com has published photos of a Southwest 737-800 in a hangar with the new design. It does not appear to be a special livery. The main changes, an apparent deeper shade of blue and white fuselage titles: CLICK HERE
This will be third basic livery for Southwest:
Top Image: Southwest Airlines. Southwest recently had a “Plane Palooza” voting contest for its special liveries on Facebook. The finalists were Florida One and Lone Star One. Naturally for the Texas-based airline, Lone Star One won.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Reflecting an American Southwest look, Southwest started operations with this orange, red and mustard color scheme. When Southwest launched intrastate operations in Texas on June 18, 1971 this was the color scheme on its three Boeing 737-200s. Boeing 737-2H4 N21SW (msn 20345) (+ the other two) are seen at the Love Field base. The full titles ran up the rear fuselage and the tail. Later the titles were shortened to just “Southwest” and were placed alone on the tail.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The current “Canyon Blue” fuselage top livery was introduced in 2001. Boeing 737-3H4 N608SW (msn 27928) departs from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Southwest Airlines Aircraft Slide Show:
In other news, Southwest is recycling its old leather seats. According to CNN, “Southwest Airlines after a large-scale redesign of many of its 737 aircraft, the carrier found itself with an excess of 80,000 leather seat covers — enough to fill the Empire State Building.
Southwest dubbed the initiative “Luv Seat: Repurpose with Purpose,” and reached out to potential partners to take the used leather, but found that there were few takers.
Following the advice of Bill Tiffany, a Southwest VP who grew up in Kenya, the airline started looking towards Africa for recipients of the used leather. Rather than just donating the goods and leaving it there, the airline decided to take a more holistic approach, giving the materials to NGOs that will use them to provide job training and health education.
The main partner is SOS Children’s Villages Kenya, which is providing paid apprenticeships and training to orphaned youth, who in turn make shoes and soccer balls from the leather. The shoes are given to Maasai Treads, who distributes them as part of a campaign to fight debilitating foot parasites. The soccer balls are donated to Alive & Kicking, a charity that uses sport to educate young people on HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention.”
Great idea Southwest. Read the full article: CLICK HERE
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) (Washington) has issued this statement concerning Boeing 737 maintenance issues by Southwest Airlines (Dallas) and a contractor:
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $12 million civil penalty against Southwest Airlines for failing to comply with Federal Aviation Regulations in three separate enforcement cases related to repairs on Boeing 737 jetliners operated by the Dallas-based airline.
The FAA alleges that beginning in 2006, Southwest conducted so-called “extreme makeover” alterations to eliminate potential cracking of the aluminum skin on 44 jetliners. The FAA conducted an investigation that included both the airline and its contractor, Aviation Technical Services, Inc., (ATS) of Everett, Wash. Investigators determined that ATS failed to follow proper procedures for replacing the fuselage skins on these aircraft. FAA investigators also determined that ATS failed to follow required procedures for placing the airplanes on jacks and stabilizing them. All of the work was done under the supervision of Southwest Airlines, which was responsible for ensuring that procedures were properly followed.
Southwest returned the jetliners to service and operated them when they were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations, the FAA alleges. The regulatory violations charged involve numerous flights that occurred in 2009 after the FAA put the airline on notice that these aircraft were not in compliance with either FAA Airworthiness Directives or alternate, FAA-approved methods of complying with the directives. The FAA later approved the repairs after the airline provided proper documentation that the repairs met safety standards
“Safety is our top priority, and that means holding airlines responsible for the repairs their contractors undertake,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Everyone has a role to play and a responsibility to ensure the safety of our transportation system.”
During its investigation, the FAA found that ATS workers applied sealant beneath the new skin panels but did not install fasteners in all of the rivet holes during the timeframe for the sealant to be effective. This could have resulted in gaps between the skin and the surface to which it was being mounted. Such gaps could allow moisture to penetrate the skin and lead to corrosion. As a result of the improper repairs, these airplanes did not comply with Federal Aviation Regulations.
The FAA also alleges that ATS personnel failed to follow requirements to properly place these airplanes on jacks and shore them up while the work was being performed. If a plane is shored improperly during skin replacement, the airframe could shift and lead to subsequent problems with the new skin.
In the third case, the FAA alleges that Southwest Airlines failed to properly install a ground wire on water drain masts on two of its Boeing 737s in response to an FAA Airworthiness Directive addressing lightning strikes on these components. As a result, the aircraft were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations. The airplanes were each operated on more than 20 passenger flights after Southwest Airlines became aware of the discrepancies but before the airline corrected the problem.
“The FAA views maintenance very seriously, and it will not hesitate to take action against companies that fail to follow regulations,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.
Southwest Airlines has 30 days from the receipt of the FAA’s Civil Penalty letter to respond to the allegations.
Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-3H4 N363SW (msn 26574) prepares to land at Baltimore/Washington (BWI).
Southwest Airlines (Dallas) used to be always near the top for on-time performance. Not any more. As the airline grew to become the largest domestic carrier in the United States that has all changed.
According to this article by Bloomberg Businessweek, “Southwest has ranked near the bottom of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s monthly tally of airline on-time performance for much of the past year, with only 72.9 percent of its flights arriving on schedule during the 12 months through April 30.”
For the August and beyond schedule period, Southwest is tweaking its schedule to improve its performance.
In the past, Southwest purposely avoided congested major airports but that too has changed as it has now entered most of the top markets in the United States and soon will fly to more overseas destinations.
Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Southwest in the past celebrated its high scores in the top three indexes of passenger satisfaction (best on-time performance, best baggage handling and fewest customer complaints) with it special “Triple Crown” livery on Boeing 737-3H4 N647SW (msn 27717).
Southwest Airlines (Dallas) according to this article by Bloomberg Businessweek, is playing “hardball” to protect its home turf at Dallas’ downtown Love Field. Upstart Virgin America (San Francisco), as we have reported, wants to sublease two gates at DAL from American Airlines (approved by the DOT) in order to start new service to key coastal markets. Virgin America, if it gains the two gates, with offer inflight amenities that Southwest does not offer its flyers at Love Field. Is Southwest afraid of Virgin America gaining a foothold in DAL?
Virgin America has brought in the “big gun”, i.e. Sir Richard Branson, who has been visiting and urging local leaders to approve the sublease from American Airlines to Virgin America. Branson has also “videoed” a love letter (see video below) to the city leaders and business interests. Southwest is pushing back claiming it can offer more flights to more markets with the two disputed gates. The city of Dallas will have to decide who gets the lease, either upset the local “hometown” airline or invite in a new strong competitor. There is a battle going on in Dallas that is heating up with the weather. Someone will win this gunfight and someone will lose it. The stakes are high.
Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. With “Lone Star One”, Southwest continues to remind Texans it is the airline of Texas, not an airline from the West Coast. Dallas is the new battleground for these two carriers. Who will prevail?