Gary Kelly traveled to downtown Houston yesterday morning to attend the National Business Travel Association’s annual International Convention and Exposition. Gary spent time addressing a sold-out audience during a panel discussion about the prospects of business travel in 2011 and beyond; however, he wasn’t the only member of Southwest Airlines receiving attention that morning. The Southwest Green Plane was also a hot topic of conversation. That’s because it was a finalist for the 2010 Business Travels Innovation Judges’ Selection Award. You may remember that we introduced the Green Plane in late October 2009 when it entered regular revenue service.
The Green Plane is an innovative idea that marries efficiency, environmentally responsible products, customer comfort, and reduced waste and weight. This Boeing 737-700 serves as a test environment for new environmentally responsible materials and Customer comfort products. All of the initiatives being tested on the Green Plane, when combined, will equate to a weight savings of almost five pounds per seat, thus saving fuel and reducing emissions, along with adding recyclable elements to the cabin interior and reducing waste.
Voted on by a panel of travel celebrity judges, the Green Plane was narrowly edged out of the top spot by Enterprise Rent-A-Car, but considering that Southwest was the only airline contending for an innovation award, the Green Plane’s nomination was a victory in and of itself. This remarkable distinction only furthers Southwest’s position as not only an innovator, but as an environmentally conscious leader in the aviation industry. Since the Green Plane has been flying for about nine months, we thought we should let you know where it stands. We are still evaluating the materials on the Green Plane, but we have seen very favorable result thus far. We conducted Inflight and post-flight Customer surveys. The survey results indicated that the seat materials on the Green Plane have been well received by our Customers in comfort, appearance, and cleanliness. We continue to test the products onboard the Green Plane for durability and will be evaluating them over the coming months. So stay tuned!
Congratulations to the Green Team, Marketing, and Engineering for the nomination and the success of the Green Plane.
To view the time lapse install of the Green Plane click here. To read more about the National Business Travel Association, visit: www.nbta.org