The Resilient History of Southwest Airlines

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Southwest Airlines is a fairly impressive organization. Throughout their history they have proven to be resilient. In their early days they had to ward off pressures that were placed on them from the more dominant airlines in their area. These airlines tried to force them out of business using regulatory pressures. The second impressive show of resiliency came when in the 1970’s the government tried to force southwest out of Love Field to the new Fort Worth airport that the government had invested in heavily. Another impressive feat of the airline is its can-do attitude. Throughout it’s history even when things were dire they still persevered. In my experience this is a monumental task as it is so easy to breed negativity instead of being positive about outcomes. Lastly, it is very impressive that Southwest was able, even in these trying times, to lower fairs and provide excellent customer service. Ideas such as their $10 fair Houston-> Dallas flight proved to be more successful than anticipated.

I would give Southwest management an excellent grade of achievement. In my experience on of the most prevalent things that I have seen from upper management is the disengagement when they run into a problem. To me it seems as if they don’t want to put their neck out there to do what needs to be done and things become stagnant. From a strategic standpoint the company doesn’t fail but it doesn’t thrive either. It just seems to flounder around no really going anywhere. Southwest doesn’t seem to suffer from this problem; on the contrary they seem to do the complete opposite supporting programs like “bags fly free” unlike their competitors. These efforts continue to give them a winning strategy as they continue to thrive altho...

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...aving too many planes booked for a city, or having overlapping flight times would be detrimental to the bottom line. A second issue I see is that Airtran used Boeing 717’s in it’s fleet. Boeing purchased this airframe in the merger of McDonnell Douglas in 1997 and discontinued it’s production in 2006. Once an airframe is no longer produced replacement parts costs can climb. The airframe didn’t see major use as only 156 were produced furthering this problem. It would be advantageous for Airtran to dump these on the market and replace them with 737 models.

I’m not really in a position to give any advice to Gary Kelly besides to keep up the essence that is Southwest. It seems to be working and effective as I have seen airline after airline dry up and die. Even once powerful airlines like Pan Am, and TWA couldn’t make it in the ever-changing airline industry.

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