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A State Affair: Texas Capitol Honors Southwest

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Yesterday, Herb, Gary, Ron and several Leaders from the Austin Station were present at the Texas Capitol while the House unanimously passed a resolution by the dean of the House, Rep. Tom Craddick , R-Midland. The Resolution honored Southwest for our 40 years of service. The Resolution cites that on June 18, 1971, Southwest began commercial flights with three Boeing 737s and fewer than 70 Employees. It also mentions many of the amazing Customer Satisfaction rankings our wonderful 35,000 Southwest Employees have received! Please take a minute to read the full resolution below.  

Gary Kelly with Texas State Rep. Dawnna Dukes (District 46)

After the reading by the House, Herb thanked the Texas Legislature and the Texas Supreme Court for all its support of Southwest Airlines since our inception many years ago. There were plenty of battles that took place to keep Southwest in the air and we persevered with the help of many from across the state of Texas. 

Ron, Gary and Herb
Honorable Joe Straus and Texas State Rep. Tom Craddick (District 82) with Founder Herb Kelleher, Chairman, President & CEO Gary Kelly and
EVP Corporate Services Ron Ricks

Upon closing, Gary and his wife Carol, Ron and his wife Eileen, and Herb chatted with members of the House and thanked them for this special honor. Check out the pictures of the event.


WHEREAS, Southwest Airlines is celebrating its 40th anniversary on June 18, 2011, providing a welcome opportunity to celebrate the success of this signature Texas company and its cofounder, Herb Kelleher; and

WHEREAS, In the mid-1960s, businessman Rollin W. King conceived of a new kind of airline that could fly passengers inexpensively and quickly across short distances; in a meeting with his lawyer, Herb Kelleher, at the St. Anthony Club in San Antonio, he used a napkin to illustrate his idea, drawing a triangle with points labeled San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas; this simple sketch would go on to become a symbol of the infant company ’s ethos and to form the basis of its initial route map; and

WHEREAS, Southwest Airlines was chartered as a Texas corporation, and on June 18, 1971, the company began commercial flights with three Boeing 737 airliners and fewer than 70 employees; since then, thanks in large part to the dynamic leadership of Mr. Kelleher, who served as the company ’s chairman, president, and CEO from 1982 until 2001, Southwest has become one of the most respected names in the industry; now under the direction of Gary Kelly, nearly 35,000 employees schedule, maintain, and fly more than 500 Boeing 737s between 72 cities in 37 states; the airline operates 3,400 flights a day, making it the largest U.S. carrier of domestic passengers as of September 2010; moreover, the airline has turned a profit for 38 years in a row; and

WHEREAS, Southwest has regularly earned top rankings in safety from the International Airline Passengers Association, and it has consistently received the lowest ratio of customer complaints per passenger boarded of all major U.S. airlines according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation; and

WHEREAS, This impressive record of customer satisfaction is no doubt linked to Southwest ’s approach to employee relations; in 1973, the company initiated the first profit-sharing program in the U.S. airline industry, and it has never laid off or furloughed a single employee; among its many honors, Southwest is often recognized as one of the best places in the country to work; in addition, it was recently named the "greenest airline" by the nonprofit group Climate Counts, and it has been repeatedly ranked as one of the most admired companies in the world by Fortune magazine; and

WHEREAS, Over the last four decades, the percentage of American adults who have flown on a commercial airliner has risen from 15 to 85 percent, a result that is often referred to as the "Southwest Effect," and on the occasion of this special anniversary, Mr. Kelleher, Mr. Kelly, and the employees of Southwest may indeed take great pride in their enormous contributions to the mobility of Americans and to the culture as a whole; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the 82nd Legislature of the State of Texas, 1st Called Session, hereby commemorate the 40th anniversary of Southwest Airlines and extend to Herb Kelleher, Gary Kelly, and the entire Southwest family sincere best wishes for continued success; and, be it further RESOLVED, That an official copy of this resolution be prepared for Southwest Airlines as an expression of high regard by the Texas House of Representatives and Senate.