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Southwest Airlines Unveils Illinois One

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Airline Honors the State of Illinois and City of Chicago with Specialty Aircraft

CHICAGO, April 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southwest Airlines today honored the State of Illinois with the unveiling of Illinois One, a Boeing 737 emblazoned with an artist's rendering of the state flag. Southwest Airlines' top Leadership celebrated the high-flying tribute to the State of Illinois at an event in a Chicago Midway hangar with Governor Rod Blagojevich, Mayor Richard M. Daley, and its Chicago-based Employees.

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"We are thrilled to honor Illinois with this beautiful aircraft; it is truly a demonstration of the great relationship we have developed with our Chicago Midway Customers and a tribute to our local hard-working Employees," said Southwest Airlines Chairman Herb Kelleher. "Our pride for Illinois will now fly high over the 64 cities Southwest serves."

Since beginning service in Illinois at Chicago Midway in 1985, Southwest Airlines has grown from seven to 227 daily nonstop departures. As Southwest Airlines has increased its flights, it also has increased its need for space. In 2004, with the help of Mayor Daley's outstanding Leadership, Southwest Airlines participated in the Terminal Development Project at Chicago Midway. The expansion has allowed Southwest Airlines to meet and exceed a promise of growth and has created an ideal environment for offering the Legendary Southwest-brand of Customer Service for Chicago travelers.

"Southwest's success at Chicago Midway would not have been possible without the sum of many parts, and this beautiful aircraft is a result of our collective hard work," said Gary Kelly, Southwest's Chief Executive Officer. "We have a great partnership with the State of Illinois and the city of Chicago. Together we have all given our Illinois Customers a high-quality travel experience and low fares."

More than 500 Southwest Airlines Employees and community leaders celebrated the unveiling today at one of the airline's Midway hangars. Attendees waved Illinois flags, took photos with a bald eagle, which is featured on both the State Flag and the specialty aircraft, and were the first to see Illinois One up close and personal.

"This day is a source of pride for the State of Illinois," said Governor Blagojevich. "Today, we stand together with the employees of Southwest Airlines to acknowledge this high-flying tribute. Thanks to Southwest, our state flag will fly from coast-to-coast and our partnership will continue to benefit the people of Illinois for years to come."

"Illinois One truly showcases the tremendous partnership that our city, region, and the state continue to have with the Southwest Family," said Mayor Daley. "This beautiful plane is a testament to the relationship that Southwest Airlines and the City of Chicago have maintained for the past 23 years -- resulting in quality airline service for the State of Illinois."

Illinois One joins twelve other 737s in Southwest's fleet that carry a unique paint scheme: Arizona One, California One, Lone Star One (Texas), Nevada One, New Mexico One, Maryland One, three Shamu aircraft (SeaWorld), Silver One (celebrating Southwest's 25th anniversary), Triple Crown One (recognizing Southwest's top rankings for ontime performance, baggage handling, and Customer satisfaction), and Slam Dunk One (tribute to our NBA partnership).

The newest aircraft in the Southwest Airlines fleet is truly a work of labor and art, requiring 26 people at the Boeing Company working three shifts over the course of six days to paint. Over 93 gallons of paint and 10 different colors make up Illinois One.

Chicago Midway Airport is Southwest's second largest operation in terms of daily departures with 227 daily nonstop flights to 47 cities, and over 3,700 Employees call Chicago home. In addition to Southwest's airport operations at Chicago Midway, the airline has a Pilot Base, an Inflight Base, a District Marketing Office, a Maintenance Facility, a Provisioning Base, a Reservations Center, and a People Department Office in Chicago.

Southwest Airlines, the nation's largest carrier in terms of domestic passengers enplaned, currently serves 64 airports in 32 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest currently operates nearly 3,400 flights a day and has 34,000+ Employees systemwide.

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