Tag Archives: Southwest Airlines

Southwest to add more Hawaii service

Southwest Airlines today announced the carrier will add new service to, from, and within Hawaiiin mid-January 2020 with new, daily service between Sacramento International Airport (SMF) and Honolulu.

In addition, new service nonstop between both of the carrier’s Hawaii gateways in the Bay Area, Oakland and San Jose, and both Kauai and the Island of Hawaii, will give Southwest Customers access to 18 flights transiting the Pacific each day between three California cities and four of the five airports Southwest will serve in the Aloha State.

Today’s schedule publication extends an ability for the carrier’s Customers to book Southwest travel through March 6, 2020, and also puts on sale the first-ever Southwest service to Lihue Airport (LIH) on Kauai and Hilo International Airport (ITO) on the Island of Hawaii.

With these additions, Southwest will operate a total 34 departures a day on interisland routes, including newly available service between Honolulu and Lihue & Honolulu and Hilo, four times daily in each direction. It will offer service nonstop between Kahului and Kona once daily in each direction.

Hawaii service details for previously announced gateway San Diego will be announced later.

Fly Southwest
between:

Nonstop
service
begins:

Book

today only,

one-way travel
as low as:

When traveling on
Tuesdays or Wednesdays:

Sacramento & Honolulu

January 19

$99

Jan. 21 – March 4, 2020

Oakland & Kona

January 19

$99

Jan. 22 – March 4, 2020

San Jose & Lihue

January 19

$99

Jan. 22 – March 4, 2020

Oakland & Lihue

January 21

$99

Jan. 21 – March 3, 2020

San Jose & Kona

January 21

$99

Jan. 21 – March 3, 2020

The carrier is offering introductory pricing on new interisland flights:

Fly Southwest
interisland

between:

Nonstop
service
begins:

Book through
Aug. 22, one-
way travel

as low as:

When traveling on
Tuesdays or Wednesdays:

Honolulu & Lihue

January 19

$29

Jan. 21 – March 4, 2020

Honolulu & Hilo

January 19

$29

Jan. 21 – March 4, 2020

Kahului & Kona

January 19

$29

Jan. 21 – March 4, 2020

 

*First and second checked bags. Weight and size limites apply.

1To view movies and select on-demand TV content, download the Southwest app from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store before your flight.

2 Due to licensing restrictions, on WiFi-enabled flights traveling over water, Free Live TV and iHeartRadio may not be available for the full duration of a flight.

3 Messaging service only allows access to iMessage and WhatsApp (must be downloaded before the flight).

^Available only on WiFi-enabled aircraft. Limited-time offer. Where available.

Hawaii Schedule Summary (as of end of January 2020):

From

To

OAK

(Oakland)

HNL (2 daily); OGG (2 daily);

KOA (1 on Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun); LIH (1 on Tue/Thu/Sat)

SJC

(San Jose, Calif.)

HNL (1 daily); OGG (1 daily);

KOA (1 on Tue/Thu/Sat); LIH (1 on Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun)

SMF

(Sacramento)

HNL (1 daily)

HNL

(Honolulu)

OAK (2 daily); SJC (1 daily); SMF (1 daily)

Interisland: OGG, KOA, LIH, ITO(4 daily)

OGG

(Kahului, Maui)

OAK (2 daily); SJC (1 daily)

Interisland: HNL (4 daily); KOA (1 daily)

KOA

(Kona, Island of Hawaii)

Mainland (1 daily): OAK on Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun; SJC on Tue/Thu/Sat

Interisland: HNL (4 daily); OGG (1 daily)

LIH

(Lihue, Kauai)

Mainland: (1 daily): OAK on Tue/Thu/Sat; SJC on Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun

Interisland: HNL (4 daily)

ITO

(Hilo, Island of Hawaii)

Interisland: HNL (4 daily)

 

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Southwest Airlines upgrades its business service with SWABIZ

Southwest Airlines has announced the evolution of its dedicated business travel Team with a new suite of services and a new name, Southwest Business. Southwest Business brings travel managers and travel management companies new capabilities within Travelport’s global distribution systems (GDS) and the Amadeus Travel Platform, the expanded reporting and settlement capabilities with the Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC); and a larger Team to reach more People than ever before—all in an effort to showcase the carrier’s business-friendly policies including no change fees (a fare difference might apply) and bags fly free (first and second checked luggage, size and weight limits apply).

“For nearly 50 years, we’ve been a business traveler’s airline with high-frequency travel options and low fares. Today’s announcement evolves that philosophy even further by offering travel managers and business travelers new capabilities when booking Southwest travel in the channel of their choice. We’re also making it easy and smooth for travel management companies to do business with Southwest Business through expanded partnerships, the addition of more content within GDS channels, a refreshed SWABIZ® booking tool, and more Team Members focused on highlighting Southwest’s business-friendly policies,” said Tom Nealon, President of Southwest Airlines. “Behind this galvanized effort, more than 59,000 Southwest Employees are all focused on bringing more Heart and Hospitality to thousands of businesses that put their trust in Southwest to connect their people to the places important to them.”

Booking Channels of Choice
As Southwest Business evolves, the Company announced today a new agreement to bring industry-standard processes to the Travelport and Amadeus GDS channels including allowing travel managers the ability to book, change, cancel, and modify reservations. The Company anticipates the new capabilities to be ready for bookings by mid-2020, and estimates this new revenue initiative to provide incremental improvements in pre-tax results in the range of $10 million to $20 million in the second half of 2020, with significant improvements expected in 2021 and beyond.  By increasing the Company’s participation within these channels to the highest level, travel managers and travel management companies will have access to more of the airlines’ fares and flight schedules. Southwest is also partnering with ARC to implement industry-standard processes to handle the reporting and settlement of tickets booked through Travelport and Amadeus channels.

“We are delighted to extend our partnership to now support Southwest Business. Whether through traditional channels or with new standards, we continue to deliver airlines’ content just as they want it, and provide agencies with the technology and content to satisfy travelers,” said Greg Webb, Travelport’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our new Southwest Business partnership is a great example of our customer-centric approach.”

“Over the past five years, Amadeus and Southwest together have implemented a technology system designed to provide not only stellar customer service, but also a long runway for Southwest to grow,” said Julia Sattel, President, Airlines, Amadeus. “Today’s addition of distribution content to our technology partnership is a significant milestone. It deepens our companies’ relationship to now include Southwest Business, and strengthens our ability to benefit travel sellers who rely on us to provide tools and world-leading content to help them provide superior service to their customers.”

“We’re excited that Southwest has chosen to leverage ARC’s network of accredited travel agencies to increase their product availability to the corporate traveler,” said ARC Executive Vice President and COO, Lauri Reishus. “We look forward to working closely with Southwest to successfully implement their distribution strategy.”

To complement these additions to its travel solutions portfolio, Southwest recently added a partnership with ATPCO/SITA to refresh product connections via a dedicated, direct-connect channel, and offer its award-winning Hospitality to more corporate travelers.

Southwest Business also continues investing and enhancing its online booking tool, SWABIZ®.  With recent upgrades, the site has become a one-stop shopping experience with air, car, and hotel booking functions. SWABIZ recently introduced more robust reporting tools aimed at putting corporate travel managers in control of their organization’s travel programs.

Southwest Business: New Name, Same Heart
Southwest Business is designed around taking the work out of work travel by making it easier to do business with Southwest Airlines. Throughout the past two years, Southwest has been laying a foundation for this announcement with continual growth within the organization. Southwest Business has added more Account Managers across the United States, a new Business-to-Business Partner Desk (available to qualified accounts), and a new look-and-feel to its SWABIZ® booking tool to highlight the carrier’s emphasis on encouraging corporations to put their trust in business travel solutions offered by Southwest Business.

Southwest Airlines launches a new pilot pathways program

Southwest Airlines today launched an innovative career program called Destination 225° which provides pathways to becoming a competitively qualified candidate for future Southwest First Officer positions. On a compass, 225° is the southwest directional heading, and Destination 225° was developed to lead aspiring Pilots to Southwest Airlines.

With demand for qualified and professional Pilots projected to increase in the coming years, Destination 225° seeks to meet future, high-potential aviators at their current experience level and provide pathways to assist them with becoming highly skilled and qualified for future opportunities at Southwest. To offer the program, Southwest plans to join with well-known industry partners that will provide participants with training and flight experience to reinforce “The Southwest Way” of flying as candidates complete their journey to becoming a professional Pilot. Planned Destination 225° program partners include: CAE, Bell Murray Aviation, U.S. Aviation, Jet Linx, XOJET Aviation, iAero Group’s Swift Air, Arizona State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, University of Nebraska Omaha, and the University of Oklahoma.

Participants who apply, interview, and are selected for the Destination 225° program will receive a Southwest mentor during their years of training, be invited to Southwest for training activities and events, and, ultimately, have the opportunity to apply for selection as a Southwest First Officer. Participants will go through comprehensive training and a continuous evaluation process intended to enable them to meet, or potentially exceed, Southwest’s competitive hiring qualifications. There is no cost to apply to the program; however, candidates advancing through a training program and the selection process will be responsible for all costs incurred.

“Destination 225° will offer pathways for the development of world-class Pilots who are ready to fly ‘The Southwest Way,'” said Alan Kasher, Vice President of Flight Operations. “This comprehensive training program is designed to make becoming a Southwest First Officer an attainable goal for passionate, highly-skilled individuals. Pilots in the Destination 225° pathways will receive training customized to Southwest from our partners and will be held to the competitive hiring requirements for future First Officer positions. We are looking for participants who demonstrate the technical aptitude to excel in all aspects of their training and development as a future Southwest Pilot.”

Destination 225° Pilot Pathways

Interested candidates can apply to be accepted into one of the Destination 225° pathways that best matches their current or prior experience:

Destination 225° Cadet Pathway
The Cadet Pathway is an ab initio—”from the beginning”—program which provides passionate, skilled individuals with a multi-year training program in partnership with CAE, a worldwide leader in training for the civil aviation, defense and security, and healthcare markets. The classroom and flight training will take place at CAE’s Phoenix training facility. The goal of the program is to have candidates qualified and prepared to apply for positions with planned program partners such as XOJET Aviation or Jet Linx, to gain the flying experience necessary to be a competitive First Officer candidate at Southwest.

Destination 225° University Pathway
The University Pathway is designed for collegiate aviators who attend a Southwest partner university or complete a Southwest Campus Reach Internship. Southwest is working to partner with four universities to offer this transition training: Arizona State University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, University of Nebraska Omaha, and the University of Oklahoma. Our planned University Pathway corporate flying partners include XOJET Aviation, Jet Linx, and iAero Group’s Swift Air.

Destination 225° Military Pathway
The Military Pathway bridges the gap for active military pilots who do not yet meet the minimums to start their career as an airline pilot. If an individual has previous rotor/powerlift experience as a military pilot, this pathway will develop the skills and experience necessary for fixed-wing airline operations. Southwest is proud to offer this transition training through a planned partnership with Bell Murray Aviation, an FAA 142 Training Center, which is dedicated to exploring training opportunities in all areas of aerospace, including individual pilot training, corporate, and military aviation operations. The planned corporate partners offering the opportunity to build the necessary flying experience are iAero Group’s Swift Air, Jet Linx, and XOJET Aviation.

Houston Hobby // Stephen M. Keller, 2018

Destination 225° Employee Pathway
Southwest is known for incredible Employees, and, in a planned partnership with CAE and US Aviation Academy, Southwest Employees will be able to also apply for the Employee Pathway to pursue a career as a professional Pilot.

“We are fortunate to attract top candidates to fill our Pilot positions at Southwest but recognize that for many, the barriers to entering this career field can be prohibitive,” said Julie Weber, Vice President and Chief People Officer. “Our purpose is to connect people to what’s important in their lives. Therefore, it’s exciting to introduce Destination 225° and provide defined pathways for aspiring aviators who dream of a career at Southwest Airlines.”

Southwest reports record second quarter earnings and guidance on the 737 MAX, will leave Newark

Southwest Airlines  Boeing 737-800 SSWL N8548P (msn 36968) SNA (Michael B. Ing). Image: 946294.

Southwest Airlines Company today reported its second quarter 2019 results:

  • Second quarter record earnings per diluted share of $1.37
  • Record quarterly operating revenues of $5.9 billion; net income of $741 million
  • Operating margin of 16.4 percent, and net margin of 12.5 percent
  • Operating cash flow of $966 million; free cash flow of $736 million; returned $548 million to Shareholders through share repurchases and dividends
  • Return on invested capital (ROIC) pre-tax of 23.4 percent for the 12 months ended June 30, 2019, or 18.2 percent on an after-tax basis

Gary C. Kelly, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are pleased to report second quarter 2019 net income of $741 million, and a second quarter record earnings per diluted share of $1.37. Our financial and operational performance was remarkably strong considering the impact of the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft (MAX), which reduced operating income an estimated $175 million in second quarter, alone. We generated record revenues, strong margins and cash flows, a healthy profitsharing accrual for our Employees, and significant returns for our Shareholders—all notable achievements. Our Employees did a heroic job managing approximately 20,000 flight cancellations under operationally difficult circumstances, while delivering excellent Customer Service. I applaud their hard work and resilience through an unprecedented challenge for our Company.

“Boeing reported last week a $4.9 billion after-tax charge for ‘potential concessions and other considerations to customers for disruptions related to the 737 MAX grounding.’ We have had preliminary discussions with Boeing regarding compensation for damages due to the MAX groundings. We have not reached any conclusions regarding these matters, and no amounts from Boeing have been included in our second quarter results.

“Second quarter 2019 unit revenues grew 6.8 percent, year-over-year. We benefited from a healthy revenue environment and strong performances from our award-winning Rapid Rewards® loyalty program and ancillary boarding products. Strong Customer demand, combined with the MAX-related flight schedule adjustments, drove our load factor to an all-time quarterly high 86.4 percent. Our revenue management capabilities implemented in 2018 also continue to deliver year-over-year benefits. Looking ahead to third quarter 2019, we are expecting another strong year-over-year unit revenue performance.

“The MAX groundings, and the resulting available seat mile (ASM, or capacity) decline, put significant pressure on second quarter 2019 unit costs. We expect unit cost penalties for second half 2019 due to the MAX groundings, as well.

Based on the most recent guidance from Boeing, we currently are assuming regulatory approval of MAX return to service during fourth quarter 2019. With this in mind, we will proactively extend the MAX-related flight schedule adjustments through January 5, 2020, to provide reliability of our operation and dependability for our Customers booking their fall and holiday travel. Following a rescission of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) order to ground the MAX, we estimate it will take us one to two months to comply with prospective FAA directives, including all necessary Pilot training. The FAA will determine the timing of MAX return to service, and we offer no assurances that our current assumptions and timelines are correct. The vast majority of our Customers’ itineraries have been unaffected by the MAX groundings, and I commend our People for their extraordinary efforts to minimize disruption to our operations.

“Based on the extensive delays in returning the MAX to service, we expect that annual 2019 ASMs will now decrease in the 1 to 2 percent range, year-over-year, compared with our original 2019 plan to grow capacity nearly 5 percent, year-over-year. As such, we are taking necessary steps to mitigate damages and optimize our aircraft and resources. We will cease operations at Newark Liberty International Airport and consolidate our New York City presence at New York LaGuardia Airport, effective November 3, 2019. The financial results at Newark have been below expectations, despite the efforts of our excellent Team at Newark. I am grateful to our wonderful Newark Employees, who are a top priority, and will be given an opportunity to relocate to another station in our system, including LaGuardia Airport, where we are experiencing strong Customer demand. As part of this move, we will offer options and flexibility for Customers to recover planned travel from other area airports.

“We are very pleased with the results from our initial waves of Hawaii service, which began back in March. Demand for Southwest service to, from, and within Hawaii is robust. While the lack of available aircraft, due to the MAX groundings, resulted in expansion delays to Hawaii, we are excited to resume growth plans next month with the first of several intended announcements. We will offer service to the Islands from both Sacramento and San Diego, as well as bring Southwest service to both Lihue, on Kauai, and Hilo, on the Island of Hawaii. We will provide details of the next phases of Hawaii flying in the coming weeks and months, as we put new flights out for sale. We are also excited to announce our intention to offer more service to Mexico, via Cozumel International Airport, in first quarter 2020, subject to requisite governmental approvals. With Cozumel, we will serve four destinations in Mexico, with year-round service from Houston Hobby.

“Despite challenges caused by the MAX groundings, our network is performing well, and our financial outlook for second half 2019 remains solid. Looking ahead, our long-term financial goals remain unchanged: maintain a strong balance sheet, investment-grade credit ratings, and ample liquidity; generate robust operating and free cash flows; grow earnings, margins, and capital returns; and maintain healthy Shareholder returns.”

Revenue Results and Outlook

The Company’s second quarter 2019 total operating revenues increased 2.9 percent, year-over-year, to an all-time quarterly record $5.9 billion, despite the negative revenue impacts as a result of flight schedule adjustments due to the MAX groundings. Second quarter 2019 operating revenue per ASM (RASM, or unit revenues) increased 6.8 percent, year-over-year, driven largely by a passenger revenue yield increase of 4.2 percent, year-over-year, and a load factor increase of 1.7 points, year-over-year, to an all-time quarterly record 86.4 percent. Second quarter 2019 year-over-year RASM benefited by approximately one point from revenue management enhancements implemented in 2018, as well as an approximate three-point tailwind—with one point related to the Company’s second quarter 2018 suboptimal schedule from the 2017 accelerated retirement of its 737-300 (Classic) fleet, and two points related to the revenue effects from the Flight 1380 accident in April 2018. Further, second quarter 2019 year-over-year RASM benefited by an approximate one-half point due to the timing shift of Easter to second quarter 2019, and by approximately two points as a result of lower second quarter 2019 ASMs due to the MAX groundings.

Currently, passenger booking and revenue trends remain strong, and the Company expects third quarter 2019 RASM to increase in the range of 3 to 5 percent, compared with third quarter 2018. The Company’s outlook for third quarter 2019 year-over-year RASM includes an estimated one-point tailwind—approximately one-half point is related to the Company’s third quarter 2018 suboptimal schedule from the 2017 accelerated retirement of its Classic fleet, and approximately one-half point is due to the revenue effects from the Flight 1380 accident in April 2018. Additionally, third quarter 2019 year-over-year RASM is expected to benefit by an estimated two points as a result of lower third quarter 2019 capacity due to the MAX groundings.

Cost Performance and Outlook

Second quarter 2019 total operating expenses increased 3.6 percent, year-over-year, to $4.9 billion. Total operating expenses per ASM (CASM, or unit costs) increased 7.5 percent, compared with second quarter 2018. Excluding special items3, second quarter 2019 total operating expenses increased 3.5 percent to $4.9 billion, or 7.4 percent on a unit basis, year-over-year.

Second quarter 2019 economic fuel costs3 were $2.13 per gallon and included $.05 per gallon in premium expense and $.06 per gallon in favorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts, compared with $2.21 per gallon in second quarter 2018, which included $.06 per gallon in premium expense and $.08 per gallon in favorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts. Second quarter 2019 ASMs per gallon, or fuel efficiency, decreased 1.7 percent, year-over-year, due to the removal of the Company’s most fuel-efficient aircraft from its schedule as a result of the MAX groundings. The Company expects third quarter 2019 fuel efficiency to decrease in the range of 1 to 2 percent, year-over-year, as a result of the MAX groundings.

Based on the Company’s existing fuel derivative contracts and market prices as of July 19, 2019, third quarter 2019 economic fuel costs are estimated to be in the range of $2.05 to $2.15 per gallon4, including $.04 per gallon in premium expense and no cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts, compared with $2.25 per gallon in third quarter 2018, which included $.06 per gallon in premium expense and $.10 per gallon in favorable cash settlements from fuel derivative contracts. As of July 19, 2019, the fair market value of the Company’s fuel derivative contracts for the remainder of 2019 was an asset of approximately $13 million, and the fair market value of the hedge portfolio settling in 2020 and beyond was an asset of approximately $158 million. Additional information regarding the Company’s fuel derivative contracts is included in the accompanying tables.

Excluding fuel and oil expense and special items, second quarter 2019 operating expenses increased 6.6 percent, compared with second quarter 2018. Second quarter 2019 profitsharing expense was $170 million, compared with $166 million in second quarter 2018. Excluding fuel and oil expense, special items, and profitsharing expense, second quarter 2019 operating expenses increased 6.8 percent, or 10.9 percent on a unit basis, year-over-year. Approximately six points of this year-over-year unit cost increase was due to the MAX groundings and the resulting lower second quarter 2019 capacity, as the Company’s operating costs are largely fixed once flight schedules are published. The year-over-year increase of 10.9 percent in second quarter 2019 CASM, excluding fuel and oil expense, special items, and profitsharing expense, was better than expected primarily due to the shifting of advertising and maintenance expenses to future quarters, favorable airport settlements, and solid cost control.

Based on current cost trends, the Company estimates third quarter 2019 CASM, excluding fuel and oil expense and profitsharing expense, to increase in the 9 to 11 percent range, compared with third quarter 2018. Prior to the MAX groundings, the Company expected third quarter 2019 CASM, excluding fuel and oil expense and profitsharing expense, to increase approximately 2 percent, year-over-year. Approximately seven points of the expected incremental year-over-year unit cost increase in third quarter 2019 are driven by lower third quarter 2019 capacity as a result of the MAX groundings. Additionally, the Company expects approximately one point of year-over-year unit cost pressure in third quarter 2019, primarily due to the shift in spending from the first half of 2019 into third quarter 2019.

Based on current cost trends and planned flight schedule reductions for the MAX through January 5, 2020, the Company estimates annual 2019 CASM, excluding fuel and oil expense and profitsharing expense, to increase in the range of 8 to 10 percent, year-over-year, compared with annual 2018’s 8.53 cents, which excludes fuel and oil expense, special items, and profitsharing expense. The increase from the Company’s previous annual guidance of a year-over-year increase in the range of 5.5 to 6.5 percent is primarily due to removing the MAX for the remainder of 2019 and the resulting lower 2019 capacity, which drives an estimated six point year-over-year unit cost increase to annual 2019.

Second Quarter Results

Second quarter 2019 net income was $741 million, or a second quarter record $1.37 per diluted share, compared with second quarter 2018 net income of $733 million, or $1.27 per diluted share, and compared with First Call second quarter 2019 consensus estimate of $1.34 per diluted share.

An increase in interest income in second quarter 2019 resulted in a net $12 million decrease in other expenses compared with second quarter 2018.

The Company continues to estimate its annual 2019 effective tax rate to be approximately 23.5 percent.

Liquidity and Capital Deployment

As of June 30, 2019, the Company had approximately $4.0 billion in cash and short-term investments, and a fully available unsecured revolving credit line of $1.0 billion. Net cash provided by operations during second quarter 2019 was $966 million, capital expenditures were $230 million, and free cash flow was $736 million. The Company repaid approximately $75 million in debt and finance lease obligations during second quarter 2019, and expects to repay approximately $416 million in debt and finance lease obligations during the remainder of 2019.

During second quarter 2019, the Company returned $548 million to its Shareholders through the repurchase of $450 million of common stock and the payment of $98 million in dividends. The Company repurchased 5.8 million shares of common stock pursuant to a $400 million accelerated share repurchase (ASR) program launched during second quarter, representing an estimated 75 percent of the shares expected to be repurchased under that ASR program. The ASR program is scheduled to terminate no later than July 29, 2019. In addition, the Company repurchased $50 million of its shares of common stock on the open market under an additional share repurchase plan. In May 2019, the Company’s Board of Directors increased the Company’s quarterly dividend by 12.5 percent to $.18 per share, and authorized a new $2.0 billion share repurchase program. Subsequent to completion of the current ASR program, the Company will have $2.4 billionremaining on its share repurchase authorizations.

Due to the delay in MAX deliveries, and based on current guidance from Boeing assuming regulatory approval of MAX return to service during fourth quarter 2019, the Company now estimates its annual 2019 capital expenditures to be in the range of $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion, compared with its previous guidance in the range of $1.9 billion to $2.0 billion.

Fleet and Capacity

The Company ended second quarter 2019 with 753 aircraft in its fleet. All 34 of the Company’s MAX aircraft were grounded as of March 13, 2019, to comply with the FAA emergency order issued for all U.S. airlines to ground all MAX aircraft. While the Company’s contractual delivery schedule with Boeing has not changed, a portion of its scheduled 2019 aircraft deliveries are expected to shift into 2020. As a result of the MAX groundings, the Company deferred the retirement of 7 of its owned 737-700 aircraft; therefore, the Company now plans to retire 11 of its 737-700 aircraft in 2019.

Additional information regarding the Company’s aircraft delivery schedule is included in the accompanying table.

Based on planned flight schedule reductions for the MAX through January 5, 2020, the Company now expects third quarter 2019 ASMs to decrease in the 2 to 3 percent range, and annual 2019 ASMs to decrease in the 1 to 2 percent range, both year-over-year.

The Company’s assumption of regulatory approval of MAX return to service during fourth quarter 2019 is subject to Boeing’s ongoing work with the FAA, who will determine the timing of MAX return to service. Any changes to these assumptions could result in additional flight schedule adjustments and reductions beyond January 5, 2020, further delays in aircraft deliveries, and additional financial impacts.

In other news, Southwest will cease operations at Newark on November 3 and consolidate New York operations at LaGuardia Airport.

Top Copyright Photo: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-800 SSWL N8548P (msn 36968) SNA (Michael B. Ing). Image: 946294.

Southwest Airlines aircraft slide show:

Southwest extends the Boeing 737 MAX grounding until November 2, partners with Nintendo

Southwest Airlines has made this announcement:

Southwest Airlines continues to monitor information from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the impending 737 MAX software enhancements and training requirements. We remain confident that, once certified by the FAA, the enhancements will support the safe operation of the MAX.

We previously revised our flight schedule by removing the MAX through October 1 to offer reliability to our operation and stability for our Customers. With the timing of the MAX’s return-to-service still uncertain, we are again revising our plans to remove the MAX from our schedule through November 2.

By proactively removing the MAX from scheduled service, we can reduce last-minute flight cancellations and unexpected disruptions to our Customers’ travel plans. The limited number of Customers who have already booked their travel and will be affected by our amended schedule are being notified of their re-accommodated travel according to our flexible accommodation procedures. The revision will proactively remove roughly 180 daily flights from our schedule out of our total peak-day schedule of more than 4,000 daily flights.

We offer our apologies to our Customers impacted by this change, and we thank them for their continued patience.

In other news, is celebrating a summer of surprises with the ultimate travel companion: Nintendo Switch. The partnership will come to life for Southwest Customers and Nintendo fans through a variety of ways, including the Let’s Play Getaway 30 days of giveaways sweepstakes* for a chance for one lucky winner to win a Nintendo Switch system and a download code for the digital version of the Super Mario Maker 2game each day between July 15 and August 13. The sweepstakes will culminate with one grand prize of roundtrip air travel for a winner and three guests, in addition to four Nintendo Switch systems and download codes for the digital version of the Super Mario Maker 2 game.

The partnership kicked off today for Customers on Southwest Flight 2246 from Dallas to San Diego, a city that is hosting one of the biggest comic convention weekends. Customers were surprised with a Nintendo-themed gaming flight as Southwest and Nintendo representatives onboard provided them with the opportunity to play a custom air travel-themed Super Mario Maker 2 course, called the Southwest Super Sky Challenge. Everyone onboard who played the game was entered for a chance to win a $500 Southwest® gift card and a Nintendo Switch prize pack containing a Nintendo Switch system and a download code for a digital version of the Super Mario Maker 2 game, with one lucky winner being selected prior to the flight landing.

Each of the Customers onboard the 737-700 aircraft was then awarded a Nintendo Switch system and a download code for the digital version of the Super Mario Maker 2 game to enjoy during their travels and on future flights. Upon arrival to San Diego, Mario himself greeted the flight and took photos with Customers in the gate area.

“Together, Southwest and Nintendo continue to elevate the ways in which we connect to our Customers’ passions, bringing families together over shared memories that will last,” said Brandy King, Director of Communication & Outreach who oversees the airline’s Brand Partnerships and Entertainment Public Relations initiatives. “We’re excited to celebrate this summer by introducing our Customers to a great travel companion sure to keep them entertained, while on a flight, on the road, or at home: Nintendo Switch.”

“With the help of Southwest, we brought smiles to an entire plane full of people,” said Nick Chavez, Nintendo of America’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “We hope that spirit of fun lasts for a long time, as now everyone on the flight has a Nintendo Switch system and Super Mario Maker 2 to play at home or on their future travels.”

Fans attending the big convention in San Diego July 18-21 can stop by the Nintendo Gaming Lounge at the San Diego Marriott Marquis & Marina at 333 W. Harbor Drive, directly adjacent to the San Diego Convention Center. There they can play the Southwest Super Sky Challenge Super Mario Maker 2 course and be entered into a sweepstakes** for a chance to win a $500 Southwest gift card,  a Nintendo Switch system,  and a digital version of Super Mario Maker 2 game. Fans who already own a Nintendo Switch system and the Super Mario Maker 2 game can play a custom air travel-inspired course especially designed for Southwest by using the Course ID 39C-LQR-WLF in the Course World mode***.

Known for its ability to play fun games at home and one the go, the Nintendo Switch system allows consumers to customize their gaming experiences and find their way to play. The system has a large library of critically acclaimed games, with more on the way for 2019 and beyond.

All photos by Southwest.

Southwest brings ‘Finfare’ of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week to the sky with onboard pre-premiere episode

Southwest Airlines has made this announcement:

Southwest Airlines, in partnership with Discovery Channel, launched a campaign bringing the fun of Shark Week to flying fans this summer. The carrier is celebrating Shark Week throughout July, ahead of Shark Week on Discovery beginning Sunday, July 28.

“Our Shark Week partnership brings fun through unique offerings for our Customers and Employees,” said Brandy King, Director of External Communication who oversees the airline’s Brand Partnerships and Entertainment Public Relations initiatives. “Whether on the ground with augmented reality experiences and gate games hosted by our Employees, to inflight exclusive content on our Shark Week On-Demand Channel, or through our social channels with engaging content and a special sweepstakes, we’ll be celebrating Sharks all month.”

Southwest brings Shark Week to fans through all phases of travel and, this year, extends the immersion straight into their homes. Through an augmented reality experience, Shark Week fans engaging with Southwest through the carrier’s social channels and in airports across the country will be encouraged to “swim with sharks” by using the augmented reality experience, accessible via swa.is/sharkweek. Fans can download a filter on their cell phones to select from the five most-popular sharks featured in Shark Week programming (Great White Shark, Hammerhead Shark, Mako Shark, Tiger Shark, and Bull Shark) to swim across their screens, and share a photo or video of the experience to their social channels using #SharksTakeFlight.

Customers traveling this summer will be able to experience the fun of Shark Week in a variety of ways. While inflight, Customers can enjoy jawsome content via the Onboard Entertainment Portal’s custom Shark Week TV Series Channel. The Shark Week TV Series Channel houses a library of Shark Week episodes that Customers can sink their teeth into, plus a never-before-seen episode, Extinct or Alive: The Lost Shark, which Customers can watch nearly 30 days ahead of its premiere during Shark Week. The feeding frenzy continues as Southwest Customers tune in to Shark Week on Discovery Channel beginning Sunday, July 28, and continuing through Sunday, August 4, via Live TV onboard Southwest WiFi-equipped flights.

Southwest Employees also are getting in on Shark Week fun! Beginning July 8, Employees in 40 Southwest airports will display Shark Week materials in gate areas with which Customers can interact. Delivering on Southwest’s legendary Customer Service and Hospitality, Southwest Employees will host gate games to entertain fliers and celebrate the 31st anniversary of Shark Week, one of the most popular and longest-running televised summer events in history.

For fans who want to experience a diving excursion, Southwest is hosting a Dare to Dive sweepstakes from July 1-31 giving a chance to land a trip to Nassau, Bahamas, to enjoy a diving experience*. Anyone may visit Southwest.com/sharkweek for a chance to win roundtrip air travel (does not include taxes and fees of at least $5.60 per one-way flight) for winner and three guests, a $3,000 gift card to The Island House, a boutique hotel, and a $375 gift card to Stuart Cove’s for a diving excursion.

One of the most popular and longest-running televised summer events, Shark Week has celebrated cartilaginous creatures for more than 30 years. This year, viewers can enjoy hours of new content that will answer some of your most pressing shark-related questions. This year’s programming will immerse fans in the lives of sharks all around the world, from the Caribbean Sea to the island of Guadalupe, and many places in between.

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Southwest removes the Boeing 737 MAX from the schedule through October 1

Southwest Airlines has made this announcement:

Southwest Airlines continues to await guidance from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the impending 737 MAX software enhancements and training requirements. We are encouraged by the reported progress and proposed path forward for returning the aircraft to service, and we remain confident that, once certified by the FAA, the enhancements will support the safe operation of the MAX.

We previously revised our flight schedule by removing the MAX through Sept. 2 to offer reliability to our operation and stability for our Customers during the busy summer travel months. With the timing of the MAX’s return-to-service still uncertain, we are again revising our plans to remove the MAX from our schedule through Oct. 1.

By proactively removing the MAX from scheduled service, we can reduce last-minute flight cancellations and unexpected disruptions to our Customers’ travel plans.