Southwest Airlines


Energy and Utilities  




MarketCap US

US United States



Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by nearly 45,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. 

Southwest is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded and operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 96 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and five near-international countries via a wholly owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways. 

Southwest is one of the most honoured airlines in the world, known for its triple bottom line approach that takes into account the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its people and the communities it serves, and its commitment to efficiency and the planet.


1967: Southwest Airlines was originally incorporated to serve three cities in Texas as Air Southwest on March 15, by Rollin King and Herb Kelleher.

1968: Although the Texas Aeronautics Commission (TAC), the state regulatory body, granted the company permission to fly in February 1968, three competing airlines filed suit to keep the company grounded.

1970: Kelleher, an attorney whose stake in the company was a mere $20,000, took a case against the company all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favour of Air Southwest in December. Air Southwest prevailed when the Texas Supreme Court upheld Air Southwest’s right to fly within Texas.

1971: Owing to several lengthy legal battles, however, it was unable to begin commercial flights until this year.

1972: The OAG shows 61 flights a week each way between Dallas and Houston Hobby, 23 each way between Dallas and San Antonio, and 16 each way between San Antonio and Houston; no flights were scheduled on Saturdays.

1973: The airline turns its first yearly profit.

1974: Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport opened, drawing business to the region and making it an attractive location for corporate headquarters.

1975: Expansion began with new routes to cities throughout Texas.

1976: Company expansion began when the airline commenced service to the Rio Grande Valley.

1977: The stock was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "LUV." The company expresses their devoted customer service as essential to them. “Over the ensuing years, our LUV has spread from coast to coast and border to border thanks to our hardworking Employees and their LUV for Customer Service.”

1978: Southwest and Braniff announced that they had settled their differences. The airline expanded conservatively into new markets following the federal deregulation of the airline industry, at first, stretching its operations only into neighbouring southwestern states. Dallas became well known in popular culture as the setting for the eponymous television drama series (originally broadcast 1978–91); the ranch where the show was filmed is now a tourist attraction and convention centre.

1979: Southwest’s first schedule out of Texas was Hobby to New Orleans in February. At the end of 1979, the Wright Amendment was proposed. Southwest introduced self-ticketing machines in many airports to simplify passenger ticketing, and introduced service to New Orleans.

1980: In the mid-1980 Southwest Airlines was the first to offer the frequent miles program. Southwest hired its first black pilot, Louis Freeman.

1981: In September, president Howard Putnam resigned and was succeeded by the flamboyant Herb Kelleher. Southwest went to Boeing and told them it would be interested in purchasing ten new 737-300s with options for ten more if Boeing were to develop the aircraft.

1982: Southwest had added flights to Las Vegas (LAS), Phoenix (PHX), San Diego (SAN), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), and Kansas City (MCI) with a total fleet of 37 aircraft.

1983: The story of Southwest’s legal fight was turned into a children’s book, Gumwrappers and Goggles by Winifred Barnum. The airline again leased two 727s for a year. At the end of the year, Southwest had inaugurated more flights out of Texas to California and begun retrofitting its jets to include leather interiors and warm earth tones.

1984: Southwest’s Houston Pilot Base opened on June 1. On November 30, 1984, Southwest took delivery of their first Boeing 737–300. Marked the 4th consecutive year Southwest Airlines ranked number one in customer service.

1985: Southwest began flights out of St Louis (STL) and Chicago-Midway (MDW). At the same time, the airline expanded flights out of Phoenix (PHX) and added ski-season flights to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Also, Southwest announced it was going to acquire Muse Air and merge it with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest. Southwest paid US$60.5 million in stock and cash for Muse Air when Muse was on the verge of collapse.

1986: Muse Air became TranStar.

1987: Unwilling to compete in a fare war against Frank Lorenzo’s Texas Air, Southwest eventually sold TranStar’s assets to Lorenzo in August. As the airline approached its 16th anniversary, executives still had expansion on their minds.

1990: The current headquarters facility was built at a cost of $15 million USD.

1991: The Lone Star was unveiled to mark Southwest's twentieth anniversary.

1995: On March 16, Southwest became one of the first airlines to have a website. By the end of the year, Southwest had 224 aircraft in its fleet and had grown its recognition in the United States. The company reached $2.8 billion in operating revenues, boasted its twenty-fifth year of posting a profit, and debuted Internet ticket sales.

1996: Southwest expanded further into the southeastern United States with new flights to Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando. After the facilities announced were added, Southwest had a total leasehold of about 24 acres (9.7 ha) of land, including its headquarters, training facilities, and parking.

1997: Southwest accepts its first Boeing 737-700 Next Generation. A $9.8 million new pilot training facility was built on a 5-acre (2.0 ha) plot of land owned by the city of Dallas; it was scheduled to be completed in Spring. First Lady Laura Bush sent Southwest a personal recognition letter celebrating the success of the Adopt-A-Pilot program, which has reached over 25,000 students since this year.

1998: Southwest Airlines was the 5th largest US air carrier, caring for over 50 million passengers a year and servicing the Northeast, Southwest and other key locations throughout the United States.

1999: Southwest added its 300th Boeing 737 as it continued to expand on the East Coast, adding services out of Connecticut and North Carolina.

2000: The airline had an annual net income of $511.1 million compared to $625.2 million. Sales for the year totalled $5.6 billion.

2001: Southwest had $1 billion in cash on September 11, 2001, and access to a line of millions of dollars in credit, which it drew on September 12, before other airlines lined up for aid. Its debt-to-capital ratio in 2001 was only 33.3 percent in an industry that averaged 71 percent, giving Southwest the heartiest finances of the country's ten largest carriers. In December, it ranked fourth next to the other major carriers. Net income per diluted share was $.63, down from $.79 per diluted share the previous year. At year-end, Southwest had over 344 one-way, non-stop city-to-city flights.

2002: "southwest airlines co." hoover's online, 20 march. available at The expansion was a little less than it previously was. As the strongest carrier, both financially and operationally, Lehman Brothers anticipated a strong performance for Southwest.

2003: The airline added its 60th destination, Philadelphia, and flew over 65 million passengers with a fleet of 388 jets.

2004: Southwest began actively seeking the full repeal of the Wright Amendment restrictions. Among all industries this year, Fortune listed Southwest Airlines as number three among America’s Top Ten most admired corporations.

2005: New service from Love Field to Saint Louis, Missouri and Kansas City, Missouri quickly started in December. Also, Southwest began a big campaign to repeal the Wright Amendment and give it more freedom to fly in and out of Dallas-Love, the carrier's original home. Southwest surpassed the 3,000-daily flight mark and crossed over 200 daily flights out of Las Vegas– the airline's largest airport at the time.

2006: On June 15, a joint press conference was held by the city of Dallas, the city of Ft. Southwest started selling tickets under the new law on October 19. Southwest received a win with the Wright Amendment Reform Act. Denver (DEN) service opened up and remains a large base for the airline. 70 percent of flight bookings and 73 percent of revenue were generated from bookings on

2007: As of June, 69 percent of Southwest passengers checked in for their flights online or at a kiosk. By the end of the year, the airline had crossed 88 million passengers flown in a year onboard 520 of its Boeing 737 aircraft.

2008: On March 6, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspectors submitted documents to the United States Congress, alleging that Southwest allowed 117 of its aircraft to fly carrying passengers despite the fact that the planes were “not airworthy” according to air safety investigators. Southwest paid US$7.5 million to acquire certain assets from bankrupt ATA Airlines.

2009: On March 2, Southwest settled these claims, agreeing to pay the FAA fines of $7.5 million for these safety and maintenance issues. On August 26, the FAA investigated Southwest for installing improper parts on about 10% of its jets.

2010: In September, Southwest announced that it would purchase all outstanding common stalk of AirTran, thus acquiring the carrier.

2011: On October 10, USA Today reported that Southwest will work to no longer bank flights in Atlanta as AirTran did. On December 13, Southwest placed a firm order for 150 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, becoming the launch customer for the type. The purchase closed the same year Southwest celebrated its 40th anniversary. The carrier had 698 aircraft in its fleet and had flown over 100 million revenue passengers by this year.

2012: On March 1st, Southwest and AirTran received FAA approval for a single operating certificate, which was a crucial part of the integration of the two airlines. On April 11, Southwest introduced the 737–800 to the fleet. Southwest was the launch customer and as of May is the largest operator of the aircraft type. On May 30, Houston’s city council approved Southwest’s request for international flights from Hobby.

2013: It took the first step on January 26, by launching shared itineraries in five markets. On February 14, Southwest announced that it had begun codesharing with AirTran.

2014: On December 29th, the last AirTran Airways revenue flight, Flight 1, departed Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta bound for Tampa International Airport. Only this year was the Wright Amendment scrapped. Finally, Southwest launched its first international services out of Baltimore, heading to Aruba.

2015: Construction at Hobby is expected to take two years, with international flights likely beginning of the year.

2017: On August 30th, Southwest received its first Boeing 737 MAX 8, the first in North America. The first delivery is expected this year.

2019: The Boeing 737 MAX was universally grounded following two fatal crashes.

2020: Notably, the company lost $3.1 billion as COVID-19 took its toll on the market.


“Connect People to what's important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.”


“To become the world s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

Key Team

Douglas H. Brooks (Board Member)

Andrew Watterson (Exec VP/Chief Commercial Officer)

Grace D. Lieblein (Board Member)

Aaron Peterson (Chief of Network)

J. Veronica Biggins (Board Member)

Annisa Bordeaux (Chief Finance Officer)

John G. Denison (Board Member)

Antonious Basalyous (Aircraft Dispatcher)

John T. Montford (Board Member)

Craig Maccubbin (Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer)

Nancy B. Loeffler (Board Member)

Daniel Mix (ATL Assistant Chief Pilot)

Ron Ricks (Board Member)

David W. Biegler (Former Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer)

Thomas W. Gilligan (Board Member)

Herbert D. Kelleher (Founder)

Gary C. Kelly (CEO)

David W. Biegler (Former Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer)

Recognition and Awards
Fortune 500, Fortune: Most Admired Companies, Forbes: Best Workplaces, Glassdoor: Best Workplaces

Southwest Airlines
Leadership team

Herbert D. Kelleher (Founder)

Aaron Keener (Chief of Staff & Internal Consultant - Technology)



Energy and Utilities

Products/ Services
Air travel transportation
Number of Employees
Above 50,000
Dallas, Texas, United States
Company Type
Public Limited Company
Company Registration
SEC CIK number: 0000092380
Net Income
1B - 20B
Above - 1B
Traded as
Social Media

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Sat Feb 24 2024

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