Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, this major U.S. airline was established in 1967 by Herb Kelleher and adopted the current name in 1971.
It is the world’s largest low-cost carrier in the world, and its operating model is a part of curriculum in most B-schools. It employs nearly 46,000 employees and operates more than 3800 flights every day, and most of its fleet consists of Boeing 737s making it the largest operator of Boeing 737s in the world with over 700 in service.
Southwest airline has been a major source of inspiration for all low-cost carriers around the world. Europe’s EasyJet, second largest airline in Europe and Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline use the strategy used by Southwest airlines. India’s IndiGo airlines and Malaysia’s AirAsia also use the same strategy.
Southwest maintains excellent customer satisfaction ratings and receives least complaints among all U.S. carriers. The benefit of Southwest Airlines serving a community is so great that there is term SouthWest Effect coined for it which refers to an increase in airline travel to and from a community after SouthWest launches its service for the community.
Unlike other major airlines that follow a hub and spoke model, Southwest provides a point to point service. It allows it to offer more direct flights between destinations. In 2015, 74 percent of its customer’s flew nonstop. It also allows it to avoid airport charges leading to cost savings. The average aircraft trip was 750 miles or 2 hours in 2015 because of its focus on short haul destinations.
It launched international destinations as recent as 2014. As of 2015 it was offering service to 11 international destinations.