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South West Airlines Case Study History and Analysis

South West Airlines Case Study
Executive Summary Thousands of people travel by air; Southwest Airlines provides low-fare air transportation service among 58 cities in the United States. Although the industry suffered a major blow from the terrorist attack of September 11th, the company is still holding strong; while other airline companies are in debt. The information was majority gathered and analyzed from the internet; sources such as "News Week," and "Wall Street Journal." According to the acquired knowledge of Southwest, the company maintains steady sales. The major success to their continued success is due to their low-cost model and competitors are aware that they cannot match Southwest Airlines low prices therefore, by dropping the price even lower; Southwest Airlines can force a company to go bankrupt.

Introduction In 1971, Rollin King and Herb Kelleher started an airline service 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." They were right about that. Southwest Airline is now a major airline, in fact, the fourth largest airliner in the United States that is trading under the Symbol LUV on NYSE.

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of customer service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and company spirit. It primarily provides short haul, high-frequency, point-to-point, low-fare air transportation service among 58 cities (59 airports) in the United States.

Here are some numbers that will give a brief idea how the company is operating: Net income: $241 million Total passengers carried: 63 million Total RPMs: 45.4 billion Passenger load factor: 65.9 percent Total operating revenue: $5.5 billion The airline industry has been hit hard by the terrorist attack of September 11th. There is a 13% insurance raise for the airlines and the government is enforcing fees regarding security problems. The operation cost increases dramatically and there are less people traveling by air. Most of the airliners are losing money expect a few. Southwest is one of those airlines which have remained profitable.

Organization of Southwest Airlines is described as an upside-down pyramid. The upper management is at the bottom and supports the front line employees (~35000), who are the experts. This is Herb Kelleher's unorthodox leadership style, in which management decisions are made by everyone in the organization,...

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