Southwest Airlines plan international assualt

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  EruditeSheep 14 Jun 2012
at 21:11

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  • Anonymous


    The FT 7/6 reports :

    Southwest Airlines, the US LCC and most profitable and successful airline in the world is expanding into international markets.

    (Let alone airlines, Southwest have outperformed Intel and microsoft over a 20 year period. It has an exceptionally highly motivated team with industry leading productivity and performance. The heavily unionised Soutwest put employees at the core of their business and are reaping the benefits. CEO’s Herb Kelleher and Gary Kelly’s outstanding leadership being the antithesis of Walsh who could learn a great deal on how to engage with people, from their proven results.)

    Likely to be based out of Houston it will target Latin America and Caribbean markets initially with a focus on holiday routes. A large increase in Atlanta traffic may follow.

    It will certainly send a shiver up the spine of United Airlines and traditional US long haul carriers.

    Adam Pilarski with Avitas, the aviation consultancy notes that in other hubs, Southwest started off as an irritant only to emerge as the dominant player. He predicts Southwest harbours bigger ambitions, eventually flying routes to London and beyond.


    UAL tried to compete with Locos with TED but that was not a great success. Southwest succeeds as it knows its customer base and gives them what they want with a team player approach. Domestic flights are a definite, cheap vacations to Mexico and the Caribbean yes. Fancy flights to Europe or UK are I think more of a stretch for the traditional Soutwest consumer no matter what the consultants and journalists would have us believe.

    Which reminds me where is the top inside story from Journalists that Southwest is going to buy American? Or is it Piedmont’s turn from the informed journalists this week?


    Until last year Southwest offered NO flights outside the 48 with its 500+ 737’s. Then it took over AirTran and is busy rationising AirTran into Southwest, like dropping all 6 routes out of my local airport Sarasota this August. AirTran brings another 150 planes, half 737’s and half 717’s, the latter are to be subleased to Delta via Boeing their owner over the next 3 years. AirTran which was HQ’d in Atlanta have routes into Mexico and the Caribean for Southwest to rationalise and base their expansion on, but until that is truely sorted you can expect little more. After all the average US citizen thinks Puerto Rico is foreign and the majority I understand neither have a passport nor have travelled ioutside of the US or Canada or a cruise ship.

    The parallel with Ryanair and the North Atlantic is all too apparent, Mr O’Leary has been on record to say that the economics are just not right with the price of fuel, despite the large Irish diaspora on the East Coast.


    Interesting. I have many Irish friends in NYC and BOS who fly home via London as direct flights to Dublin are more expensive. I wonder if a 737 can do Dublin or maybe Shannon to BOS on ETOPS? We have 757’s maybe a 738 could with reduced cargo or maybe that is the economics argument.


    RichH11 – Boeings web site suggests that the present 737’s do not have the year round range esp west bound to do the non stops without an auxillary fuel tank or two. The latter would hurt the cargo hold and economics.
    Air Canada do a summer only A319 St Johns – LHR service but generally the smallest single aisle plane is the venerable 757ER used by many airlines AA, United ,Openskies etc.
    But if a big enough order was likely then I am sure the boys in Seattle or Toulouse would do the sums and get one into service.


    RichH11 – How wonder how Privairair’s B737s manage to cross the Atlantic ?

    Is it because they have fewer seats in all 44-seater J class configuration ? I believe the services operated under contract for LX and KL have now ceased but when they were in operation, Privatair used to fly ZRH-NYC non-stop for LX and even AMS-Houston non-stop for KL.

    The latter was quite a feat … some 10 hrs non-stop on a B737.


    737 800’s fly west coast to Hawaii which is 2500 miles but switzerland to NY must be 4000 minimum. I guess with extra tanks and a weight limitation it is possible. Maybe Martyn would know.
    Either way I would not be comfortable flying a 737 on such a route.
    Standard Boeing spec for 700 is 3,440 nautical miles.


    Memory tells me that PrivatAir use B737 BBJ variants with auxiliary fuel tanks to enable intercontinental travel. With 50 passengers the range is about 5500nm (10,200km). The Royal Australian Air Force operate two of the aircraft for VIP travel, configured for 30 passengers with a range of 11,390km. Some additional information can be found via

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