Tag Archives: 7378H4

IAM files for mediation at Southwest Airlines

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) has issued this statement against Southwest Airlines (Dallas):

After more than two years of direct talks with Southwest Airlines, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) announced it will file for mediation with the National Mediation Board (NMB), the federal agency that oversees contract negotiations in the airline industry.

“Southwest earned nearly a billion dollars last year, is on pace to report a larger profit for this year, has the most productive workforce in the airline industry and yet refuses to offer any real improvements,” said IAM District 142 President Tom Higginbotham. “Management is hell-bent to move to a risky variable compensation system as opposed to offering guaranteed wage increases. It’s clear this is a numbers oriented airline instead of a people oriented airline.”

Coupled with Southwest’s deteriorating labor relations, the carrier’s operational performance has plummeted. The carrier has among the worst on-time arrival rate in the airline industry, it ranks among the bottom in mishandled baggage and hovers at the top of the airline industry in denied boardings.

“Southwest has merged its way to super-profits and is doing everything it can to stonewall its employees from sharing fairly in the success they’ve worked so hard to create,” continued Higginbotham. “This is greed, pure and simple and the IAM will not stand for it.”

If the IAM’s application for federal mediation is granted by the NMB, the agency then begins the process of attempting to resolve the differences between the parties via mediated discussions. If no agreement can be reached through mediation, the Railway Labor Act (RLA)—the federal law that governs collective bargaining in the airline industry—has several mechanisms to bring both sides together, including arbitration and a possible strike.

The IAM represents approximately 6,000 passenger service and reservation agents at the carrier and has never before had to utilize the NMB’s mediation services to achieve an agreement with Southwest.

The IAM represents over 100,000 workers in the airline and railroad sectors and is the largest transportation union in North America.

Meanwhile Southwest issued this statement about “listening” to its internal and external customers through a new “Listening Center”:

On August 26 Southwest Airlines unveiled a Listening Center devoted to engaging with Employees and Customers in real time. Located at Southwest Airlines Headquarters in Dallas, the Listening Center is the first of its kind in the domestic airline industry. It serves as the airline’s nerve center, integrating traditional media, social media, and operational data to allow various functions to move quickly and efficiently from insight to action.

The Listening Center is staffed seven days a week with Southwest Employees from the Customer Relations, Communication, and Marketing departments. The Employees are available around the clock to answer questions, engage with Customers, and share feedback across the organization to enhance the Customer experience.

“The Listening Center symbolizes our commitment to listening to our internal and external Customers, and taking that feedback to make smarter business decisions,” said Linda Rutherford, Vice President Communication & Outreach at Southwest Airlines. “As we continue to evolve as a social business, we’ll connect with our Employees and Customers in ways that are meaningful to them.”

The Listening Center works closely with Southwest’s Network Operations Control center (NOC), and has staffed a satellite Listening Center within the heart of the NOC to relay real-time feedback from Customers as operational challenges arise. The satellite Listening Center allows Employees on the Social Media Team to proactively communicate with Customers as operational updates become available.

“The best companies are innovating at the speed of the customer,” said Scott McCorkle, chief executive officer, Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. “Utilizing our technology, Southwest Airlines is connecting with their customers to deliver a phenomenal customer experience.”

Southwest Airlines is regarded as a pioneer in the social media space and has been recognized in many ways for embracing social technologies. The Nuts About Southwest Blog is a PR News Hall of Fame inductee, and many social media campaigns and Social Media Team members have been awarded best-in-class recognitions.

The Listening center was designed by Corgan and built by Structure Tone. The visualizations displayed within the facility are powered by Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud’s Radian6 Command Center and Crowd Reactive. The technology allows Southwest to quickly identify hot topics, influencers, trends, and consumer-generated media.

Copyright Photo: Eddie Maloney/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8H4 N8305E (msn 36683) touches down in Las Vgeas.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines to add Split Scimitar Winglets to its 85 Boeing 737-800s

Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) today announced that Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has ordered Split Scimitar Winglets for its Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 aircraft.  APB’s newest program is the culmination of a five-year design effort using the latest computational fluid dynamic technology to redefine the aerodynamics of the Blended Winglet into an all-new Split Scimitar Winglet. The unique feature of the Split Scimitar Winglet is that it uses the existing Blended Winglet structure, but adds new strengthened spars, aerodynamic scimitar tips, and a large ventral strake.  APB looks forward to receiving FAA certification for Split Scimitar Winglets later this month.

By upgrading its Boeing Next-Generation 737-800s with Split Scimitar Winglets, APB estimates that Southwest will increase its annual fuel savings of approximately three percent per aircraft from Blended Winglets to approximately five percent per aircraft annually with the Split Scimitar Winglet upgrade. In addition to lowering Southwest’s fuel costs, the Split Scimitar Winglet will reduce emissions, supporting Southwest’s commitment to efficiency and to the Planet.

Southwest’s order of 85 Split Scimitar Winglets allows the airline to retrofit the 52 Boeing 737-800s currently in its fleet, in addition to the 33 Boeing 737-800s the airline expects to be delivered in 2014. Pending FAA certification, Southwest Airlines plans to begin Split Scimitar Winglet retrofits at Aviation Technical Services, based in Everett, Washington, in the first half of 2014, with an expected completion of all retrofits by early 2015.

APB’s Split Scimitar Winglet program is the most successful product launch in its history.  Since launching the program early last year, APB has now taken orders and options for 1,451 Split Scimitar Winglet systems. Over the last 10 years, APB has sold more than 7,000 Blended Winglet Systems.  Over 5,100 Blended Winglet Systems are now in service with over 200 airlines in more than 100 countries. APB estimates that Blended Winglets have saved airlines worldwide over 4 billion gallons of jet fuel to-date. 

Aviation Partners Boeing is a Seattle based joint venture of Aviation Partners, Inc. and The Boeing Company.

737-800 Split Scimitar Winglets (APB)(LR)

Southwest in its advertisements is helping the public correlate the wing “doohickeys” with reduced costs which lead to lower fares. Now they will have “super doohickeys”:

Copyright Photo: Bruce Drum/AirlinersGallery.com. The current Boeing 737-800 fleet has the Aviation Partners Boeing Blended Winglets. They will be replaced with the new model. Boeing 737-8H4 N8309C (msn 36985) taxies to the gate at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show



Southwest Airlines announces new routes

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has announced its schedule through June 2014.  In the wake of the recent slot reallocation concerning New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Southwest is increasing service between LaGuardia and Nashville, Houston Hobby, Chicago Midway and Akron-Canton, Ohio. The new service begins on May 11, 2014.

Southwest Airlines also announced new nonstop service between San Diego and Orlando; New Orleans; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle/Tacoma. The new flights come as Southwest gets ready to celebrate its 32nd anniversary of serving San Diego’s Lindbergh Field.

The airline also is making waves in Portland, Oregon, by offering new nonstop destinations to Customers in the northwest. That includes the two daily nonstop flights to San Diego, as well as daily service to Baltimore/Washington, Chicago Midway, and Houston Hobby.

As Southwest moves toward its final phase of integrating AirTran Airways, new nonstop service at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport includes service to Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh.

Copyright Photo: Eddie Maloney/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8H4 WL N8319F (msn 36994) lands at Las Vegas.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

AirTran Airways: AG Slide Show

Southwest completes the installation of Water Vapor Sensing Systems on 87 Boeing 737 aircraft, will fly international routes next year

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has completed the installation of Water Vapor Sensing Systems (WVSS-II) on 87 Boeing 737 aircraft. The water vapor initiative, a result of a partnership between Aeronautical Radio Incorporated (ARINC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and SpectraSensors, has the potential to improve weather forecasting by providing real-time and frequent humidity data when aircraft takeoff and land at airports around the country.

“Southwest’s meteorology team has always worked closely with ARINC and NOAA, and the WVSS-II project is symbolic of our strong reliance on each other. We are proud to be the only passenger airline currently participating in the project and look forward to the many ways WVSS-II will impact and improve both weather forecasting and the impact on airline operations,” said Rick Curtis, Chief Meteorologist, Southwest Airlines.

National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters routinely use WVSS-II observations in their day-to-day operations. Monitoring the distribution of moisture in the atmosphere and how the moisture levels change with time play an integral role in forecast preparation. Aviation forecasters rely on WVSS-II data to help determine location and timing of fog, cloud formation, and dissipation, and altitudes of cloud ceilings, all critical to determining safe conditions for aircraft travel.

“Water vapor is the most rapid-changing and under-sampled element in the atmosphere,” said Carl Weiss, an aviation meteorologist for NOAA.  “On the heels of a tumultuous weather year, WVSS-II is part of a larger initiative contributing to Weather Ready Nation, our initiative focused on building community resilience in the face of extreme weather events. WVSS-II data upon takeoffs and landings allow forecasters to monitor and stay on top of how moisture is changing in the atmosphere, specifically in severe weather situations when preparedness is especially important.”

WVSS-II, manufactured by SpectraSensors, Inc., measures water vapor in the atmosphere hundreds of times during an aircraft’s flight. These measurements are automatically transmitted to ARINC’s headquarters in Annapolis, MD, via the ARINC GLOBALink/VHFTM data link service. The moisture data along with other aircraft weather data are then forwarded in near real-time to the U.S. National Weather Service, which uses them to improve the accuracy of its computer-generated weather forecasts and severe weather warnings.

“The WVSS-II observations add a critical new piece of weather data to the forecasting puzzle,” says Jeannine Hendricks, ARINC’s Manager for the WVSS program. “For the first time in aircraft operations, we are collecting water vapor data that measures the humidity in the air. This has the potential to revolutionize weather forecasting—especially when predicting thunderstorms—a significant weather occurrence for aviation.”

While weather balloons, previously the only method for capturing weather data, measure wind, temperature, and humidity data just twice per day at certain locations, the water vapor sensors gather humidity data throughout the day at multiple points across the nation. The improved water vapor data will have a direct benefit in the accuracy of forecasts of precipitation and clouds, which will benefit the aviation community, its customers, and the general public.

Southwest Airlines plans to continue working with ARINC and NOAA in conjunction with the National Weather Service to expand WVSS-II installations on its aircraft fleet.

In other news, Southwest will announce a schedule for international service next year according to CEO Gary Kelly and Reuters. This will be the first international routes for the carrier. Subsidiary AirTran Airways currently flies to Mexico and the Caribbean.

Copyright Photo: Eddie Maloney/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8H4 WL N8310C (msn 38807) arrives in Las Vegas.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show


Southwest Airlines to add daily Atlanta-Washington Reagan National service on February 13, 2014

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) is planning to add a single daily Atlanta-Washington (Reagan National) (DCA) flight on February 13, 2014 in addition to the existing five roundtrips flown by subsidiary AirTran Airways per Airline Route.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8H4 WL N8315C (msn 38811) completes its approach into DCA from the south.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines reports a net profit of $224 million in the second quarter, removes the first AirTran Boeing 717

Southwest Airlines Company (Dallas) today reported its second quarter 2013 results.  Second quarter 2013 net income was $224 million, or $.31 per diluted share, which included $50 million (net) of unfavorable special items.  This compared to net income of $228 million, or $.30 per diluted share, in second quarter 2012, which included $45 million (net) of unfavorable special items.  Excluding special items, second quarter 2013 net income was a record $274 million, or $.38 per diluted share, compared to $273 million, or $.36 per diluted share, in second quarter 2012.  This was in line with the First Call consensus estimate of $.38 per diluted share.  Additional information regarding special items is included in this release and in the accompanying reconciliation tables.

Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are  pleased to report record quarterly earnings of $274 million (excluding special items).  This performance benefited from all-time high operating revenues and lower fuel prices.  In addition, our focus on managing costs resulted in modest year-over-year cost inflation despite significant investments in fleet modernization and other strategic initiatives.  I commend our hard-working and dedicated Employees for their efforts to achieve these excellent results, while simultaneously executing on our strategic initiatives.

“While the lingering effects of government sequestration and higher taxes continued to be a drag on air travel demand, second quarter 2013 revenues and passenger traffic still reached record levels.  In addition, we are in the midst of integrating AirTran, launching new city-pairs, and optimizing the combined networks.  We maintained strong load factors and ended the quarter with a record June load factor of 85.0 percent, which is notable considering the increasing mix of larger gauge 737-800s and Evolve -700s.  Although the 2.4 percent year-over-year decline in second quarter unit revenues was below plan1, results improved throughout the quarter. Third quarter 2013 revenue trends are encouraging, thus far.  To date, July unit revenues are approximately three percent above last year’s July, benefiting from Southwest and AirTran network connections and our gradual combined network optimization.  Current bookings for the remainder of the third quarter also look solid.

“We remain on track with our plan to fully integrate AirTran into Southwest Airlines by the end of 2014.  We are on schedule to complete the conversion of AirTran’s Boeing 737-700s to the Southwest livery and deploy the Southwest international reservation system next year.  During second quarter, we transitioned one -700, bringing total aircraft conversions to 12 since the acquisition.  Seven more -700 conversions are planned for this year, with the remaining 33 planned for next year in conjunction with the conversion of AirTran’s eight international markets.  We will be transitioning AirTran’s 88 Boeing 717-200s out of the fleet, beginning next month.

“Connecting the Southwest and AirTran networks was a key milestone this quarter.  As of April 14, Customers can now fly across our combined 97 destinations on a single itinerary.  Our ability to optimize the combined networks and operations is enhanced significantly with connecting capabilities as we continue to transition AirTran markets to the Southwest network.  Earlier this week, we extended our 2014 flight schedule through early March and announced new Southwest service between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, beginning in February, which will augment AirTran’s five daily nonstop flights.  During second quarter 2013, Southwest launched new service to Charlotte, North Carolina; Flint, Michigan; Portland, Maine; Rochester, New York; and Wichita, Kansas, which were all AirTran cities.  We also began operating Southwest’s first scheduled service outside of the continental United States, with daily service to San Juan, Puerto Rico, beginning April 14th.  By the end of 2013, we will have a Southwest presence in all AirTran domestic cities retained following the acquisition.  While much of the converted capacity represents new city-pairs, we expect these new routes to develop rapidly.  Our Cargo business also benefited from connecting the networks, coincident with the April 14th launch of cargo on AirTran under the Southwest brand.

“We are excited about our future network opportunities as we add international capabilities and continue the development of our domestic route network.  We were thrilled to be awarded the slot exemption from the U.S. Department of Transportation to begin service between Houston Hobby and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport next month.  The introduction of this daily Southwest service will complete a triad of nonstop service options between Hobby and the Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. metro areas.

“We continue to make progress on our fleet modernization efforts.  During second quarter, we added three new Boeing 737-800s into service and retired two Boeing 737-300s.  We also removed the first AirTran 717 from active service during the quarter in preparation for its transition out of the fleet next month.  As of June 30, 2013, all Southwest Boeing 737-700s and 14 Boeing 737-300s have been retrofitted with the Evolve interior, and we plan to retrofit 64 additional -300s in the second half of this year.  In May, we announced revisions to our future aircraft delivery schedule, including the launch of the Boeing 737 MAX 7 in 2019, with three objectives in mind:  efficiently and aggressively manage our invested capital, shift the mix of new aircraft deliveries to the MAX, and replace Boeing 717s and Boeing 737s being retired over the next three years with more economical aircraft.  This includes augmenting our Boeing orders with the acquisition of pre-owned aircraft.  In line with our plan, available seat miles (capacity) for 2013 are estimated to increase two percent year-over-year as a result of larger gauge aircraft.  For 2014, we currently plan to keep our capacity in line with 2013 as we continue to optimize our network and execute our strategic plan.

“Our fleet modernization and other fuel conservation efforts resulted in a 4.1 percent improvement in second quarter available seat miles per gallon.  Second quarter economic fuel costs declined significantly to $3.06 per gallon, as expected, compared to second quarter 2012’s $3.22 per gallon.  Based on our fuel derivative contracts and market prices as of July 22, third quarter 2013 economic fuel costs are expected to be in the $3.05 to $3.10 per gallon range, which is below third quarter 2012’s $3.16 per gallon.

“Our second quarter unit costs, excluding fuel, special items, and profitsharing, increased 1.7 percent, compared to second quarter last year.  Based on current trends and benefits from our fleet modernization efforts, we expect our third quarter 2013 unit costs, excluding fuel, special items, and profitsharing, to increase slightly from third quarter 2012’s 7.72 cents.

“Our balance sheet and liquidity remain strong with approximately $3.7 billion in cash and short-term investments, as of yesterday, and a $1 billion fully available revolving credit facility.  Our second quarter cash flow from operations was $778 million, and capital expenditures were $193 million, resulting in $585 million in free cash flow2.  Our strong cash flow generation and record second quarter profits (excluding special items) reinforce the Board’s authorizations in May 2013 to increase our stock repurchase program from $1 billion to $1.5 billion, along with quadrupling our quarterly dividend to an estimated 1.2 percent annual yield (based on yesterday’s closing stock price of $13.76).  During second quarter 2013, we returned approximately $279 million to our Shareholders through the payment of $28 million in dividends and the repurchase of approximately $251 million, or approximately 18 million shares, under an accelerated stock repurchase program completed in June.  Since August 2011, we have repurchased approximately $975 million, or approximately 100 million shares, under our total $1.5 billion share repurchase authorization.”

Financial Results

The Company’s second quarter 2013 total operating revenues increased 0.6 percent to $4.6 billion, while operating unit revenues decreased 2.4 percent, on a 3.0 percent increase in available seat miles, and approximately four percent increase in average seats per trip, all as compared to second quarter 2012.  Total operating expenses in second quarter 2013 increased 1.3 percent to $4.2 billion, as compared to second quarter 2012.  The Company incurred costs (before taxes) associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran, which are special items, of $26 million during second quarter 2013, compared to $11 million in second quarter 2012.  Cumulative costs associated with the acquisition and integration of AirTran, as of June 30, 2013, totaled $363 million (before profitsharing and taxes).  The Company expects total acquisition and integration costs to be no more than $550 million (before profitsharing and taxes).  Excluding special items in both periods, total operating expenses in second quarter 2013 were $4.2 billion, compared to $4.1 billion in second quarter 2012.

Second quarter 2013 economic fuel costs were $3.06 per gallon, including $.05 per gallon in unfavorable cash settlements for fuel derivative contracts, compared to $3.22 per gallon in second quarter 2012, including $.04 per gallon in unfavorable cash settlements for fuel derivative contracts.  The Company has derivative contracts in place for approximately 80 and 85 percent of its estimated fuel consumption in the third and fourth quarters of 2013, respectively.  As of July 22nd, the fair market value of the Company’s hedge portfolio through 2017 was a net asset of approximately $102 million.  Additional information regarding the Company’s fuel derivative contracts is included in the accompanying tables.

Excluding fuel, special items, and profitsharing in both periods, second quarter 2013 operating costs increased 0.7 percent from second quarter 2012, and 1.7 percent on a unit basis.

Operating income for second quarter 2013 was $433 million, compared to $460 million in second quarter 2012.  Excluding special items, operating income was $479 million for second quarter 2013, compared to $485 million in the same period last year.

Other expenses for second quarter 2013 were $70 million, compared to $92 million in second quarter 2012.  This $22 million decrease primarily resulted from $47 million in other losses recognized in second quarter 2013, compared to $62 million in second quarter 2012.  In both periods, these losses primarily resulted from unrealized mark-to-market gains/losses associated with a portion of the Company’s fuel hedging portfolio, which are special items.  Excluding these special items, other losses were $12 million in second quarter 2013, compared to $14 million in second quarter 2012, primarily attributable to the premium costs associated with the Company’s fuel derivative contracts. Third quarter 2013 premium costs related to fuel derivative contracts are currently estimated to be approximately $22 million, compared to $15 million in third quarter 2012.  Net interest expense declined to $23 million in second quarter 2013, compared to $30 million in second quarter 2012, primarily due to the repayment of AirTran aircraft financing facilities during the first quarter of 2013.

For the six months ended June 30, 2013, total operating revenues increased 1.4 percent to $8.7 billion, while total operating expenses increased 1.2 percent to $8.2 billion, resulting in operating income of $503 million, compared to $481 million for the same period last year.  Excluding special items, operating income was $591 million for first half 2013, compared to $495 million for first half 2012.

Net income for first half 2013 was $283 million, or $.39 per diluted share, compared to $327 million, or $.43 per diluted share, for the same period last year.  Excluding special items, net income for first half 2013 was $328 million, or a record $.45 per diluted share, compared to $255 million, or $.33 per diluted share, for the same period last year.

The Company’s return on invested capital (before taxes and excluding special items) was approximately nine percent for the twelve months ended June 30, 2013.  Additional information regarding pre-tax return on invested capital is included in the accompanying reconciliation tables.

For the six months ended June 30, 2013, net cash provided by operations was $1.8 billion, and capital expenditures were $727 million, resulting in free cash flow2 in excess of $1 billion.  The Company repaid $216 million in debt and capital lease obligations during first half 2013, and intends to repay approximately $100 million more in debt and capital lease obligations during the remainder of the year.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. A beautiful banking shot of Boeing 737-8H4 WL N8322X (msn 36997) completing the River Approach into Washington’s Reagan National Airport (please click on the photo for the full-size view).

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show


DISH to offer free TV on Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) and the DISH Network has announced a new partnership. The DISH Network Corporation issued this statement today:

DISH, the leading pay-TV provider, today announced “TV Flies Free” marking the first time TV entertainment is free for passengers aboard Southwest Airlines. Beginning today for Southwest Customers using iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch®, or most other Internet-ready personal devices, DISH is providing free access to live TV and up to 75 on-demand shows on the airline’s more than 400 Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft.

The news was unveiled by DISH’s “Boston Guys” who surprised each of the passengers aboard a Southwest flight from Boston to Baltimore/Washington with a free iPad 2 on behalf of the two companies. Southwest Customers and Crew greeted the news with spirited applause, as for the first time, Customers flying on Southwest Airlines can stream directly to their personal devices live TV and up to 75 on demand titles for free, a savings of $5 per day. Over the past year, the “Boston Guys,” have popularized DISH’s Hopper® Whole-Home HD DVR with their Boston accents featured humorously in DISH’s “Hoppa” commercials.

“DISH and Southwest are two iconic American brands known for putting the customer first, providing products, services and experiences they truly demand,” said DISH President and CEO Joe Clayton. “It’s only logical our two companies should team up to give passengers free live TV and on-demand shows on flights around the country.”

Clayton added: “Customers using DISH’s award-winning DISH AnywhereTM and Hopper TransfersTM apps on their iPad can watch all their live TV, DVR recordings and on-demand shows anywhere, anytime via Wi-Fi connection or Hopper Transfers. Now, on Southwest, they can use an iPad to watch free live TV and on-demand shows. It’s a perfect fit.”

“Southwest Airlines continues to innovate and evolve our on-board Customer experience,” said Kevin Krone, Chief Marketing Officer at Southwest Airlines. “We started with Wi-Fi and now have expanded to television. This new offer puts free television in the hands of our Customers. Just one more way Southwest offers more value at 37,000 feet.”

In-air access to live TV, on-demand programming and Wi-Fi connectivity is delivered by Southwest’s satellite-based inflight entertainment and connectivity partner, Row 44, a subsidiary of Global Eagle Entertainment, Inc.


As part of the agreement, DISH also announced a promotion for new DISH customers signing up for the Hopper Whole Home DVR and a qualified programming package, offering 12,500 points in Southwest’s Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program and the choice to receive an iPad 2. DISH is teaming up with Southwest Airlines for the nationwide marketing campaign to make its offer available to the airline’s Customers.

Southwest’s in-air live TV, delivered by connectivity partner Row 44, is available on most Internet-ready devices on most flights. The live-TV lineup currently features Bravo, CNBC, FOX 5 New York (WNYW), FOX Business Network, FOX News Channel, Golf Channel, MLB.com (Major League Baseball, when games are available), MSNBC, NBC 4 (WNBC), NFL Network, Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel. Popular TV show episodes are also available on demand as part of the TV lineup. Free TV, compliments of DISH, is a limited-time promotion.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8H4 WL N8609A (msn 36893) prepares to land at Washington (Reagan National).

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show


Southwest to start Houston Hobby-Washington Reagan National service on August 4

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) announced today that new service between Houston Hobby and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport will begin on August 4, 2013. The airline initially will operate one daily roundtrip flight between the two cities.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recently awarded slot exemptions for this service by selecting Southwest’s application over competing applications by other airlines to serve other cities from Reagan National Airport.

The new route completes a triad of nonstop service options between Houston and the metropolitan airports in Boston, New York, and Washington, DC.

Southwest has served Houston Hobby since June 18, 1971, and has more than 2,800 Houston-based employees and currently operates 153 daily departures from Hobby Airport. Earlier this year, the Houston City Council approved Southwest’s proposal to construct a new five-gate international facility at Hobby Airport. New near-international service on Southwest Airlines is scheduled to begin in 2015.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 737-8H4 WL N8610A (msn 36635) completes its final approach into nearby Baltimore/Washington.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Southwest Airlines helps to launch the Boeing 737 MAX 7

Boeing (Chicago) and Southwest Airlines (Dallas) announced today the launch of the 737 MAX 7, the third member of the 737 MAX family. The carrier and launch customer for the 737 MAX program became the first airline to order the 737 MAX 7, when it converted 30 existing orders for Next-Generation 737s into orders for the 737 MAX 7.

Southwest also exercised options to add five more Next-Generation 737-800s to its fleet. These airplanes, along with the 737 MAX 7s, are part of Southwest’s ongoing effort to improve fuel efficiency and profitability. The 737 MAX 7 supports Southwest’s expanding fleet modernization effort. Southwest is expected to take its first 737 MAX 7 delivery in 2019.

“We are thrilled to announce that Southwest Airlines and Boeing have entered into an agreement for Southwest to be the launch customer for the Boeing MAX 7 series, with deliveries beginning in 2019,” said Gary C. Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO. “The 737 MAX 7 builds on the strengths of today’s Next-Generation 737-700, incorporating the latest CFM International LEAP-1B engines is expected to reduce fuel burn and CO2 emissions by an additional 12 percent over today’s most fuel-efficient single-aisle airplane.”

The 737 MAX 7 (below) brings the most advanced engine technologies to the world’s best-selling airplane, building on the strengths of today’s Next-Generation 737-700. The 110-ft long airplane incorporates the latest CFM International LEAP-1B engines to deliver improved efficiency with the most reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market. The 737 MAX 7 also will extend the range over today’s 737-700 by approximately 400 nautical miles (741 km).

Etihad 777 flight

Image: Boeing.

“Southwest has been a valued partner in the evolution of the 737 program,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Ray Conner. “We have worked together to launch several models of the 737 including the 737 MAX family in 2011. We are excited to bring the 737 MAX 7 to market with Southwest.”

With the MAX 7 conversions and exercised options for 737-800s, Southwest’s unfilled orders consist of 180 737 MAX airplanes and 137 Next-Generation 737s. The 737 MAX now has orders for 1,315 airplanes.

In other news, Southwest Airlines’ Board of Directors, at its meeting held today, significantly increased the Company’s quarterly dividend to $.04 per share from $.01 per share.  Annualized, this amounts to over $100 million.  The increase in the quarterly dividend will begin with the 147th consecutive quarterly dividend declared today to Shareholders of record at the close of business on June 5, 2013 on all shares then issued and outstanding.  The dividend will be paid on June 26, 2013.  The Board also increased the Company’s existing $1 billion share repurchase authorization to $1.5 billion.  Of the remaining share repurchase authorization, an initial $250 million of Southwest common stock will be repurchased under an accelerated stock repurchase program.

Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO, stated: “Over the past 24 months, we have returned over 20 percent of our operating cash flows, or approximately $770 million, to Shareholders through share repurchases and dividends. I am pleased to announce several actions taken today by our Board that follow through with our commitment to deploy free cash flow1 to our Shareholders. The Board authorized an increase in our quarterly dividend payment to $.04 per share from $.01 per share.  Based on yesterday’s closing stock price of $13.98, this would provide an approximate one percent annual dividend yield to our Shareholders.  The Board also increased our existing $1 billion share repurchase authorization to $1.5 billion.  To date, $725 million in share repurchases of the $1.5 billion authorization have been completed since August 2011.  This means we have the authority to repurchase an additional $775 million of our common stock.  We intend to execute an agreement today to repurchase $250 million of our shares under an accelerated stock repurchase program, which, upon implementation, will immediately bring shares back into the Company.

Top Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough/AirlinersGallery.com. With this announcement, Southwest exercised options to add five more Next-Generation 737-800s to its growing fleet. Boeing 737-8H4 WL N8308K (msn 36682) arrives at Washington (Reagan National).

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show

Southwest to start Memphis, Pensacola and Richmond service on November 3

Southwest Airlines (Dallas) has announced new service beginning in November to Memphis, Tennessee, Pensacola, Florida., and Richmond, Virginia, completing the planned arrival of Southwest’s Low Fares and Legendary Customer Service in 89 domestic destinations, including all previously served by wholly-owned subsidiary AirTran Airways.

The new nonstop service offered on both carriers comes as Customers are able to purchase itineraries among the two airlines’ combined 97 destinations, including international airports, in one transaction.

Beginning Sunday, November 3, Southwest Airlines will fly nonstop between:

  • Memphis and Baltimore/Washington, Houston (Hobby), Orlando, Chicago (Midway), and Tampa
  • Pensacola and Nashville and Houston (Hobby)
  • Richmond and Orlando (AirTran Airways will continue to operate nonstop service between Richmond and Atlanta.)

AirTran Airways will start service between Memphis and Baltimore/Washington, Houston (Hobby), and Orlando on August 11, 2013.

Also timed with the extension of the flight schedule, AirTran Airways will begin new service in four airports in November.

Beginning Sunday, November 3, AirTran Airways will fly nonstop between:

  • Oklahoma City and Atlanta and Chicago (Midway)
  • Hartford/Springfield and Atlanta
  • Louisville and Atlanta
  • Norfolk/Virginia Beach and Atlanta

Southwest Airlines and wholly-owned subsidiary AirTran Airways, in addition to providing new destinations, added nonstop routes to and from airports they currently serve.

Additional New Service on Southwest Airlines Beginning November 3:

  • One daily nonstop flight between Atlanta and New York (LaGuardia)
  • One daily nonstop flight between Atlanta and West Palm Beach
  • One daily nonstop flight between Atlanta and St. Louis
  • One daily nonstop flight between Austin and New Orleans

Shifting from AirTran to Southwest Beginning November 3:

  • One daily nonstop flight between Atlanta and San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • One daily nonstop flight between Dayton and Orlando
  • Two daily nonstop flights between Ft. Lauderdale and Philadelphia
  • One daily nonstop flight between Ft. Lauderdale and Pittsburgh
  • Two daily nonstop flights between Milwaukee and Ft. Myers
  • One daily nonstop flight between Pittsburgh and Ft. Myers

Additional New Service on AirTran Airways Beginning November 3:

  • One daily nonstop flight between Baltimore/Washington and Kansas City
  • One daily nonstop flight between Columbus and Tampa Bay
  • Two daily nonstop flights between Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood and Jacksonville

Seasonal nonstop service will also begin on November 3 for both Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways, providing Customers a way to travel to popular Florida destinations.

Seasonal Nonstop Service Beginning November 3 between:

  • Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood and Albany, Columbus, Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Raleigh-Durham
  • Ft. Myers and Hartford/Springfield, Boston Logan, Akron-Canton, and Philadelphia
  • Orlando and Detroit
  • Tampa and Norfolk/Virginia Beach
  • West Palm Beach and Philadelphia

In other news, Southwest has been awarded two slot exemptions (one daily round trip) from the DOT to operate new service from Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport to Reagan National creating the only nonstop service between DCA and HOU.

Copyright Photo: Tony Storck. Boeing 737-8H4 WL N8314L (msn 36990) arrives at Baltimore/Washington.

Southwest Airlines: AG Slide Show