The History of Southwest Airlines
Southwest Airlines (SWA) begins in June 18, 1971, when SWA first operated a first airline consul between Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. Rollin King and Herb Kelleher are the founders of the company. The end of 1971 SWA immediately began to expand.
In 1972 all Houston service is transferred to Houston's Hobby Airport form Houston Intercontinental, that is make more convenient for people to fly. During the first year of operations the customers were the Southwest's first priority. Five years after the first operated a twin-engine the SWA places its sixth Boeing 737 into service while flying over one and a half million satisfied customers to their destinations. Also at the same year SWA gets clearance to begin spreading to Austin, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Lubbock, and Midland/Odessa. Also, SWA carries its five millionth passengers and SWA becomes the public. SWA stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1978, Herbert Kelleher comes aboard as permanent President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board for SWA. In 1979, SWA introduced in ten cities to self-ticketing machines in ten cities to make it even faster and more convenient for people to fly.
Year later SWA added its 22nd Boeing 737 to the family and it was the first 737 to be completely owned by SWA. Furthermore, in 1985 SWA take off with new service to St. Louis, Missouri and Chicago. Moreover, in 1988, SWA becomes Sea World of Texas' official airline, later in the year SWA again becomes the official airline of Sea World of California. Also, SWA wins the first Triple Crown, a prize for airline companies that consist for Best On-Time Record, Best Baggage Handling, and Fewest Customer Complaints. A year later, SWA wins the second Triple Crown. In addition, in 1994 for third, 1995 for fourth, and 1996 for fifth annual Triple Crown. In 1997, SWA begins new service to Islip, New York, and Connecticut.
After past twenty-eight busy years SWA is became the fifth largest major airline in the United States. SWA spans over fifty-six airports compare with 1971 only Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Also, SWA is known in the airlines industry as a quality flight and the most modern fleet. SWA is a service business and it is continuing to improve its services.
INDUSTRY OVERVIEW, TRANDS AND OPPORTUNITIES.
Air travel slowing industrywide.
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...al issues, that management would probably want to address:
Net Revenue growth - the expansion of the fleet and addition of the destinations addresses it. Changes in financial statements can be assessed by the time company issues its financial data for the years 2000 and 2001.
Current and Long Term liabilities are pressuring company's ratios. Once the expansion completed and the debt shifted from current to long term, ratios will look in the favor of the company.
Return on equity is below its main competitor, Skywest Airlines, due to the comparatively low asset turnover and profit margin.
FLYING INTO THE FUTURE
Although the airline has scaled back its market expansion plans, Southwest thinks it can expend capacity about 15 to 20percent annually. However, in fiercely competitive world of low-fare service, Southwest differentiates itself by the way it plans the future. Herb Kelleher, the CEO, said, "Southwest does not prepare strategic plans in the traditional sense. We do not even do one-year plans. We bump up against some benchmark that requires us to make a major decision we review our strategic definition of the airline and decide whether we depart from it."
Southwest airlines is one of the most widely respected companies among those profiled by Firms of Endearment. They are recognized for having one of the best corporate cultures, which is emphatically encouraged from the top down. Southwest’s model clearly exemplifies the concept of servant leadership, and we will elaborate on how this creates a firm of endearment.
Southwest Airlines is “America’s largest low-fare carrier” (Southwest, 2014). The Headquarters for Southwest Airlines reside in Dallas, Texas. Southwest Airlines was founded by Rollin King and Herb Kelleher and was originally planned to serve only a small three city area. “Southwest Airlines was incorporated in Texas and commenced Customer Service on June 18, 1971, with three Boeing 737 aircraft serving three Texas cities - Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio , and grew to become a major airline in 1989 when it exceeded the billion-dollar revenue mark (Southwest, 2014).
Despite its growing domestic network, the company didn’t offer international flights until July 2014, and even then, it only offered limited destinations (“Southwest Corporate Fact Sheet,” n.d.). Furthermore, the company’s reliance on a single aircraft is cause for concern. Southwest Airlines was also weak with technology utilization initially but has since turned this into an asset, as described later. Finally, the company has a limitation with providing customer perks due to its low-cost operations (Ross & Beath,
Southwest Airlines faced many barriers to entry from the fierce competition of other airlines in the industry. Though competition was fierce, Southwest Airlines managed to succeed by doing things differently. Their mission was to provide affordable air travel to those who would not normally fly. Contradictory to the rest of the airline industry, Southwest maintained a profit while keeping its fares low. Southwest was unique to the industry in two ways. They focused on the short haul traveler and used a point-to-point method of flight connections.
Southwest Airlines is also well-known for having a very productive and loyal workforce. Such loyalty and productivity among the employees were brought by the way Southwest’s management treats them. As they say, the employees are willing to work hard for the company because they feel appreciated by the top management. Southwest maintains good employee relations because what they believe in is that if employees are happy, satisfied, dedicated, and energetic, they'll take real good care of the customers.
More than 37 years ago, Rollin King and Herb Kelleher got together and decided to start a different kind of airline. They began with one simple notion: If you get your passengers to their destinations when they want to get there, on time, at the lowest possible fares, and make darn sure they have a good time doing it, people will fly your airline. And you know what? They were right. What began as a small Texas airline has grown to become one of the largest airlines in America. Today, Southwest Airlines flies over 104 million passengers a year to 64 great cities all across the country, and we do it more than 3,400 times a day.
Southwest Airlines is competing with "Shuttle by United" head to head in about 9 routes. United has just announced that it is discontinuing its Oakland - Ontario route and hiking the fares in all the 14 routes by $10, which calculated to be 14.5% increase in the fare. Southwest has to respond effectively to these unexpected developments and has to act accordingly while maintaining their current low fare image and increasing their daily operating profits. We have considered the elasticity of the market to be 1.15.
The marketing approach of Southwest Airlines is built upon their strong business model. They have successfully managed to target two specific market segments of the airline industry while remaining profitable. Their strategy is simple, to offer frequent non-stop flights with the lowest costs which appeal to both the business and budget travelers. By segmenting their target audience to specific demographics and ticket pricing, passengers know exactly what they are getting for the price they pay.
In the airline industry, Southwest Airlines is considered a true innovator. By shaking up the rules of flying and improving upon inefficient industry norms, Southwest has quickly grown by leaps and bounds. From the very start, Southwest Airlines' goals were to make a profit, achieve job security for every employee, and make flying affordable for more people (Southwest,2007). Southwest has not strayed from these goals. It does not buy huge aircrafts, fly international routes or try to go head to head with the major carriers; and thanks to a great planning, Southwest airlines has become the most successful airline company in the U.S., if not the world.
Advertising: As one of the largest domestic airlines, Southwest Airlines has an enormous advertising budget to sustain its presence and increase its market share through focusing on the benefits of flying Southwest over its competitors. Southwest recognizes that flying is no longer a pleasurable experience for many customers, even on Southwest, historically a budget airline. Even though Southwest is often regarded as a no-frills airline, it still attempts to build goodwill from its customers based on its advertising. Of the $249 million it spent on advertising in 2011, Southwest Airlines is unique in that it does not sell additional ad space on the exterior of its aircraft. Many domestic airlines have begun selling aircraft exterior space as a way to increase revenue, but Southwest Airlines insists that it wants to keep its product and advertisi...
Since CEO Gary Kelly took the reins of the company back in 2004, Southwest has maintained and enhanced the company’s ability to offer customers a great flying experience for low fares. This effort start early in Mr. Kelly’s tenure when he identified four success factors
The mission of Southwest Airlines is a dedication to the highest quality of service delivered with warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit (Mission…, 2007). The company also provides opportunities for learning and personal growth to each employee. Creativity and innovation is very important and highly encouraged, for the purposes of improving effectiveness. Employees are to be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that the employees are expected to share with the customer. Southwest Airlines was initially created to be a low-cost alternative to high price of intra-Texas air carriers (Freiberg, 1996). Southwest’s fares were originally supposed to compete with car and bus transportation. It was a little airline, and it would withstand the test of time. As a discount, no-frills airline, it would provide stiff competition for larger airlines. Their strategy was to operate at low cost, offering no food, no movies, no first class, and no reserved seats. They created their own market and provided increased turnaround times at the gate, by avoiding hub-and-spoke airports and opting for short-haul, direct flights. Through this market approach, Southwest has a majority of market share in the markets they serve.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) was created in 1972 and was fully state owned. The company expanded rapidly, and with a strategy of concentrating on customer needs by providing exceptional in-flight service, the airline quickly became a noteworthy competitor in the market. During its formative period in the 1970s, SIA developed all the hallmarks that made it one of the most successful and consistently profitable airlines in the world. Through a constant investment in personnel skills and other sources, the company has achieved a sustainable competitive advantage, as well as a reputation for classy elegance.
Southwest has comprehensive strategy and they work with harmony. They are low cost airlines which make the customer feel like royalty. Southwest have a winning strategy is proven by their profit year after year even thought they had economy crisis. Since 1973 Southwest reported a profit each year even when they lost billions of dollars from the year 1980 to 2009 because of the low operating cost strategy, low fares and customer service. Since the start of Southwest they have stay faithful of keeping low cost across the industry. Their value in corporate culture reflected through their prices and customer service.
It all started in 1971, when Rolling King and Herb Kelleher decided to challenge the existing rut of charging high prices for air travels. They considered the railways and roadways their competitors and decided to offer cheaper travel for smaller routes. The company was incorporated in 1967, apart from initial entry troubles, Southwest has been the only US airline to have earned profits since 1973. The eccentric company’s outlandish way of conducting themselves has been the sole reason for Southwest Airlines to succeed in a highly competitive and packed industry.