Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has announced plans to complement its growing portfolio of international routes by offering nonstop service between Los Angeles International Airport and Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia/Guanacaste, Costa Rica beginning in April 2016. Southwest® expects to operate the service daily from LAX Terminal 2, adjacent the carrier’s domestic operation in LAX Terminal 1.
The new international service comes as Southwest achieves several milestones in a revitalization of its LAX facilities at Terminal 1. As part of the $508 million modernization project unfolding now in partnership with Los Angeles World Airports, a new ticketing lobby and baggage claim facility is set to open early next year. Additional facility construction will bring new entrances, additional capacity in the security checkpoint expected to open in 2017, new food options, and an overall enhanced Customer experience. The project is expected to be completed fully by 2018.
Southwest Airlines began flying to California in 1982 and now serves nine airports in the Golden State, offering more daily departures in California than any other airline. 143 of those flights takeoff and land within the state, connecting 18 unique city-pair combinations within California. By summer 2016, Southwest’s nine California airports will offer Customers a combined peak weekday schedule of 678 departures to destinations across the United States, Mexico, and Costa Rica.
Following its launch of service in April 2013 to the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Southwest began its international journey in July 2014 with service to three Caribbean nations and, after adding service points across the Caribbean, Mexico, and Central America, will end 2015 ‘twelve for twelve,’ so to speak: the carrier now serves a dozen destinations across Latin America and the Caribbean from a dozen gateway airports on the U.S. mainland. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) will become the carrier’s thirteenth gateway airport in the 48 contiguous states.
Southwest Airlines Gateway Cities within the 48 contiguous states (as of 12/31/2015, listed alphabetically):
• Chicago Midway
• Ft. Lauderdale
• Houston Hobby
• Orange County/Santa Ana
• San Antonio
• Tampa Bay
Southwest Airlines Service across Latin America and the Caribbean (as of 12/31/2015, listed chronologically by start of service):
• San Juan, Puerto Rico
(began Apr. 14, 2013)
• Oranjestad, Aruba
(began July 1, 2014)
• Nassau, The Bahamas
(began July 1, 2014)
• Montego Bay, Jamaica
(began July 1, 2014)
• Cancun, Mexico
(began Aug. 10, 2014)
• San Jose del Cabo/Los Cabos, Mexico
(began Aug. 10, 2014)
• Mexico City, Mexico
(began Nov. 2, 2014)
• Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
(began Nov. 2, 2014)
• San Jose, Costa Rica
(began Mar. 10, 2015)
• Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
(began June 7, 2015)
• Belize City, Belize
(began Oct. 15, 2015)
• Liberia, Costa Rica
(began Nov. 1, 2015)
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-76N N7706A (msn 32661) departs from Los Angeles International Airport.
Scandinavian Airlines-SAS (Stockholm) is launching yet another year round service between the US and Scandinavia. From March 29, 2016, SAS will operate daily nonstop flights between Copenhagen and Boston. As such, SAS will be the first carrier to fly directly to Boston from Scandinavia.
SAS is now launching a year round nonstop daily service from Copenhagen to Boston. In 2016, SAS will offer approx 500 flights between Boston and Copenhagen and 6,600 flights between Scandinavia and the US – a total of 1.6 million seats between USA and Scandinavia.
The route will be operated by an 86 seat Boeing 737-700 BBJ (Boeing Business Jet).
The route opens on March 29, 2016 and will be operated by PrivatAir with a Boeing 737 configured with 20 Business and 66 Go seats. Departure and arrival times are scheduled to connect with flights to and from Copenhagen to major airports in Scandinavia and Northern Europe.
SAS currently offers long haul flights from Scandinavian to New York, Washington DC, Chicago and San Francisco and recently launched new direct routes to the US in 2016: From Stockholm to Los Angeles, from Oslo to Miami and from Copenhagen to Miami.
From Copenhagen: SK927 will depart daily at 12:50 arriving in Boston at 15:20.
From Boston: SK928 will depart daily at 17:30 arriving at 07.00 the following day.
Copyright Photo: AirlinersGallery.com. SAS Boeing 737-76N WL SE-REZ (msn 32738) taxies to the gate at London’s Heathrow Airport.
Southwest Airlines‘ (Dallas) flight attendants have turned down the tentative contract by a large 87 percent margin. The airline issued this statement:
Southwest Airlines (LUV) has announced that its Flight Attendants have voted down a tentative agreement that would have ended two years of negotiations. Representatives for Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 556 say Flight Attendants rejected the deal by 87 percent of those casting ballots. Nearly 89 percent of eligible Flight Attendants voted.
“This agreement ensured that our Flight Attendants would stay atop the industry in pay and benefits,” said Randy Babbitt, Southwest Senior Vice President Labor Relations. “It improved the Company’s competitiveness with certain work-rule changes and supported our evolving network, both domestically and in international markets. So naturally we’re disappointed that it didn’t pass.”
The deal was slated to run through May 2019 and contained fixed wage increases, cash bonuses, and quality of life improvements. Southwest says it remains committed to reaching an agreement that best serves the interests of both the Company and its Flight Attendants.
“Knowing how volatile our industry can be, I can’t imagine a better time to secure an agreement,” said Vice President Cabin Services Mike Hafner. “But together we will find a way to move forward. Southwest Flight Attendants are the finest in the industry, and I am continuously proud of their consistent efforts and the caring service they provide our Customers.”
Southwest expects TWU leadership will take some time to evaluate the results prior to returning to direct bargaining. But for now, Southwest Flight Attendants will continue working under the terms of their current agreement, which became amendable May 31, 2013.
Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-76N N7718B (msn 32665) approaches the runway at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport (BWI).
WestJet (Calgary) has announced it is launching new nonstop service to Florida, Mexico and Costa Rica, as well as adding more than 85 flights across its growing domestic and international network as part of its winter 2015-2016 flight schedule. WestJet’s regional airline, WestJet Encore (Calgary), will also begin service three times a day to Boston, its first U.S. destination.
WestJet will launch new nonstop service between Toronto (Pearson) and West Palm Beach and Toronto (Pearson) and Sarasota/Bradenton, as well as between Toronto (Pearson) and Boston and Halifax and Boston.
The airline will also introduce new service to Mexico between Toronto (Pearson) and Huatulco, Toronto (Pearson) and Merida, and Toronto (Pearson) and Cabo San Lucas, as well as additional service to Costa Rica between Toronto (Pearson) and San Jose (SJO). WestJet already serves Liberia.
Guests flying from the Region of Waterloo International Airport and Charlottetown Airport will see new weekly nonstop flights to Orlando.
Details of WestJet’s new routes from Central and Eastern Canada for the winter of 2015-2016:
WestJet is also increasing service from a number of destinations within Central and Eastern Canada including Toronto (Pearson), Halifax, St. John’s, Deer Lake and Charlottetown, as well as from Toronto (Pearson) to Liberia, Turks and Caicos, Puerto Plata and Punta Cana.
The airline will also add new nonstop flights between Calgary and Florida, Costa Rica and Mexico, and between Vancouver and Orlando.
Copyright Photo: Ton Jochems/AirlinersGallery.com. WestJet’s Boeing 737-76N C-GWSH (msn 29886) taxies to the gate at the Calgary hub.
Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes (Sao Paulo) has agreed to enter into several strategic transactions with the Constantino Family, Gol’s controlling shareholder, and Delta Air Lines (Atlanta) to strengthen the airlines’ strategic alliance and enhance Gol’s financial position and liquidity.
The airline continued;
As part of the agreement, Gol’s controlling shareholder will invest up to $90 million (US) in newly issued preferred shares of Gol and Delta will invest up to $56 million in newly issued preferred shares of Gol. Delta also will guarantee a term loan to be entered into by Gol with third party lenders of up to $300 million. In connection with these transactions, Gol and Delta will extend their commercial cooperation arrangements.
The consummation of each of the strategic transactions is subject to the execution and delivery of definitive documentation and customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals.
Copyright Photo: Rodrigo Cozzato/AirlinersGallery.com. Gol’s Boeing 737-76N PR-GOH (msn 32440) departs from Sao Paulo (Guarulhos).
Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has issued this statement concerning the City of Dallas and Delta Air Lines (Atlanta):
Southwest supports the City’s efforts to manage Love Field in accordance with its obligations under airline leases and the Wright Amendment Reform Act. Southwest disagrees with guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding the use of Love Field gates by non-tenant airlines like Delta. That guidance not only violates Southwest’s legal and contractual rights but would also reduce competition, costing consumers millions of dollars in higher airfares.
Delta’s temporary license to use gate space at Dallas Love Field expires at midnight on July 6, 2015. Beginning August 9, Southwest will fully utilize its 18 Love Field gates by operating 180 flights a day to 50 nonstop destinations resulting in an industry-leading gate utilization of ten flights a day per gate. Southwest will therefore be unable to accommodate any other airline, including Delta, on its gates after that date. Tickets on these Southwest flights have been for sale to our Customers since February or earlier.
The lawsuit filed by the City of Dallas allows the City and Southwest to ask the court to properly interpret applicable law as well as the contractual agreements entered into by the City and Southwest relating to Love Field, which clearly give Southwest the right to expand upon and maximize the usage of its leased gates in the best interest of the citizens of Dallas. Every other air carrier serving North Texas, including Delta, can grow without restriction at DFW Intl. Airport, which Delta currently serves. Southwest is restricted from growing beyond its 18 Love Field gates, which is a small fraction of the total 185 gates in the Dallas Ft. Worth market.
Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-76N N7705A (msn 32744) prepares to land in Las Vegas.
Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show (current livery):
Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has issued its 2014 One Report on the performance of the airline during 2014 including the integration of AirTran Airways:
On the heels of the airline’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders and announcement of expanded international service, Southwest Airlines® released its sixth annual, award-winning integrated report, found at southwestonereport.com. Southwest Airlines Chairman, President, and CEO Gary Kelly (above and below) shared his thoughts on the 2014 One Report and the carrier’s successful year on his LinkedIn Influencer page.
Kelly said, “I am immensely proud to say that 2014 will go down as one of the most monumental years in Southwest’s history, chock-full of major milestones and historic events—a banner year that we started planning for in 2010 when we laid out our five-year strategic plan. In short, 2014 was epic!
“It marks the end of one era and the dawn of another as the restrictions of the Wright Amendment were lifted*, allowing us to offer additional nonstop service from our home in Dallas. Of equal significance, we spread our wings into international territory and expanded our presence in markets that were once inaccessible to us, like New York City and Washington, D.C.
“We continued our commitment to efficient operations by signing an agreement to purchase low-carbon renewable jet fuel and remained on track with our fleet modernization efforts. I suppose it is only fitting that 2014 culminated with the completion of the AirTran Airways integration, which has been arguably the biggest project in our Company’s history.
“In celebration of all these exciting changes, we introduced a bold, new look with a new livery and logo (below).
The new look is centered around a heart, which serves as our foundation and symbolizes our commitment to remain true to our Core Values and low-fare philosophy as we seek to spread our Hospitality and Reliability to the rest of the world, because without a Heart, it’s just a machine. We accomplished all of this and more in 2014 while returning significant value to our Shareholders, surpassing our financial target of at least 15 percent pre-tax return on invested capital, excluding special items (ROIC); maintaining a job-secure environment for our People; spreading our Hospitality to our communities; and achieving our 42nd consecutive year of profitability—a record that is unmatched in the U.S. airline industry. Further, our common stock (LUV) was the top performer of the S&P 500. Indeed, 2014 was proof positive of our ongoing commitment to the triple bottom line.”
The carrier’s triple bottom line approach takes into account Southwest’s Performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities it serves, and its commitment to efficiency and the Planet. The 2014 One Report also features the major headlines of the year, including the launch of international service, the repeal of the Wright Amendment, the integration of AirTran Airways, the airline’s innovative LUVSeat upcycling Program, and the opening of a brand new LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver-certified Training and Operational Support facility in Dallas.
Key highlights that can be found in the 2014 One Report include:
Reported record net income of $1.1 billion
Recognized as the top stock performer of the S&P 500 with a 125 percent increase
Returned $1.1 billion to Shareholders through repurchases of $955 million of common stock (33 million shares) and payment of $139 million in dividends
Reduced long-term debt and capital lease obligations by $261 million, net of debt issuance Completed the integration of AirTran Airways, achieving net pre-tax synergies of approximately $500 million (excluding acquisition and integration expenses)
Transitioned AirTran Airways Employees into Southwest, creating one Family
Allocated the largest total dollar amount ever to the Company’s ProfitSharing Plan
Introduced a multi-year program, Heart of the Community, as part of Southwest’s community outreach in placemaking
In 2014, Southwest donated more than $20 million in corporate monetary, in-kind, and ticket donations to the communities the carrier serves
Reached 26 percent improvement in jet fuel efficiency on revenue ton miles per gallon basis compared with 2005
Decreased absolute greenhouse gas emissions for the second year in a row due to continued improvements in fuel efficiency
Continued renewable energy commitments for a total of more than 50 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy in 2013 and 2014
Ranked first among the four largest U.S. domestic passenger airlines and fourth overall for in-service fuel efficiency, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) report
Based on the Company’s outstanding year in 2014, the airline has again been named to Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens List for its commitment to Employees and the communities in which they work and live. Southwest Airlines was named in the top 25 and the only commercial airline to make Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s List, with especially high scores in the following categories:
Southwest’s strong performance in these categories underscores the airline’s commitment to a triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet.
To arrive at Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens List, the program audits and ranks Russell 1000 companies across seven corporate and social responsibility initiatives: environmental activity, climate change, human rights, employee relations, corporate governance, philanthropy and financial performance. Corporate Responsibility Magazine collects data on each company, including sending out an extensive questionnaire and asking companies to verify Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s initial report. Learn more about the methodology here.
* Restrictions still apply with respect to destinations beyond the 50 United States or District of Columbia.
Video above: CEO Gary Kelly introduces the 2014 One Report.
Copyright Photo below: Jacques Guillem Collection/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-76N N7733B (msn 32678) taxies to the runway at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in the new 2014 livery.
Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show (current livery only):
Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has turned to the McMurdo Group for its Kannad Survival Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) for its Boeing 737s. The McMurdo Group issued this statement:
McMurdo Group, a global leader in end-to-end search and rescue and maritime domain awareness solutions, today announced that its Kannad Survival Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) (below) are being integrated throughout Southwest Airlines’ (Dallas) fleet of 636 Boeing 737 aircraft.
ELTs, which are a key component of passenger and crew safety in the event of an emergency, enable first responders to locate the aircraft as soon as possible and potentially save more lives. Survival ELTs are removable from the aircraft and are stowed to facilitate usage by crew members in emergency situations. The ELTs were provided by McMurdo’s aviation partner, Aviall Services, Inc.
McMurdo’s Kannad ELTs are already used by some of the world’s largest aircraft and airline brands including Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Pilatus, British Airways, United Airlines and China Airlines. The high-performance distress beacons provide the most innovative technology available including pin-point positioning and location data for optimal rescue response time.
In a typical search and rescue scenario an emergency signal from an ELT or distress beacon is relayed via satellite to Mission Control Centers and Rescue Coordination Centers for eventual rescue team deployment. This search and rescue ecosystem (known as COSPAS-SARSAT) has helped to save over 37,000 lives since 1982. McMurdo is the industry’s only provider of this end-to-end search and rescue solution from aviation/maritime/military/personal distress beacons to satellite ground station communications to rescue response solutions.
Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGalllery.com. Boeing 737-76N N7706A (msn 32661) approaches the runway for landing at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL).
Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show (current livery only):
Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association-SWAPA (Dallas), representing the pilots of Southwest Airlines (Dallas), filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board (NMB). The union issued this statement:
In order to facilitate movement in contract negotiations, the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) today officially filed for mediation with the National Mediation Board (NMB), the federal agency that oversees contract negotiations in the airline industry. After two-plus years of negotiations both sides are currently too far apart to realistically expect an agreement outside of a mediated process.
“This is certainly not a step either side wants to take during negotiations, and certainly not a typical step in the pilot and management relationship at Southwest Airlines,” said Mark Richardson, SWAPA President. “But times have certainly changed.”
SWAPA has focused their negotiations on improvements in areas that address the airline’s flat fleet growth, stagnant career advancement, and compensation. Over the past four years the pilots have sacrificed when asked by the Company. This facilitated Southwest reaching their financial goals, including a stated goal of 15 percent ROIC. Those goals have been accomplished, and furthered, with an announced ROIC total of 19 percent for the trailing 12 months, and a Wall Street expected 21 percent ROIC for fiscal year 2014. Southwest Airlines is on pace to enjoy almost $2.5 billion in operating profit for 2014.
“Our asks continue to be reasonable so that our highly productive pilots can enjoy marginal improvements in their schedule, pay, and especially retirement – an area where Southwest pilots lag significantly compared to our peers at other airlines,” continued Richardson. “Filing for mediation is the next step in the process toward a new contract. We are trying to avoid the destructive and combative relationships that have plagued our industry.”
SWAPA becomes the third Southwest Airlines labor group to request national mediation in order to finalize a new contract in this current round of negotiations.
Located in Dallas, Texas, the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) is a non-profit employee organization representing the more than 7,500 pilots of Southwest Airlines and 500 pilots of AirTran Airways. SWAPA works to provide a secure and rewarding career for Southwest pilots and their families through negotiating contracts, defending contractual rights and actively promoting professionalism and safety. For more information on the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association, visit http://www.swapa.org.
Copyright Photo: Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-76N N7705A (msn 32744) arrives in Los Angeles.