Southwest Airlines is celebrating its 50th anniversary this week, with commemorations including a special aircraft livery and employees loyalty miles giveaway.
A B737-800 has been painted in what the carrier calling a “Freedom One” livery depicting a stylised flag of the United States of America. The airline said that the livery is “a high-flying tribute to 50 years of Southwest Airlines service with a symbol of unwavering pride for our Nation and its heroes”.
In addition Southwest is offering all of its employees 50,000 Rapid Rewards bonus points “to recognize and appreciate active Southwest Employees in the milestone moment”.
The US carrier began regular scheduled passengers services on June 18, 1971, covering the ‘Texas Triangle’ between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
It is now the largest domestic airline by passengers numbers, and serves 121 destinations throughout North America.
Commenting on the celebrations Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines’ chairman of the board and chief executive officer, said:
“The word ‘freedom’ has significant meaning to the People and history of Southwest Airlines. We’re eternally grateful to those who have served and are currently serving in our Armed Forces – including the more than 7,400 veterans and 1,500 military spouses in our Southwest Family.
“Our Purpose is to connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel. We simply couldn’t fulfill our Purpose if not for the sacrifices and dedication of our military men and women. We appreciate their service and bravery in providing a blanket of freedom for our country.”
“Southwest revolutionized the travel industry since our very first flight on June 18, 1971 – a time when less than 15 per cent of Americans ever had traveled by air. The People of Southwest democratized the skies with friendly, reliable, and affordable air travel, and what better way to honour you, our Employees, on our 50th Anniversary than by offering a gift of 50,000 Rapid Rewards points.”