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The Williams Trophy: Going Green Gets the Gold!

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People who know me are aware of how excited I am about Green things, so it is always a thrill when I hear we have won an award relating to our environmental efforts.  The Williams Trophy, awarded by the Washington Airports Task Force for “leadership, vision, and dedication in the application of aviation or space to enrich the quality of life on Earth,” is an honor that was awarded Tuesday to Gary Kelly, our CEO, President, and Chairman; Jeff Martin, Vice President of the Operations Coordination Center; and Southwest Airlines for our commitment to training our Pilots and retrofitting our aircraft for Required Navigational Performance (RNP), the cornerstone of the Next Generation Air Traffic Control system. 

In addition to RNP, the award cited our green plane, gate services, electric ground equipment, winglets, and our overall commitment to environmental  stewardship.  FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt introduced the award and then Gary and Jeff spoke about how these environmental decisions also make good business sense, and they thanked the Employees of Southwest Airlines for their work and commitment to doing the right thing.  I was particularly struck by how many Employees were involved and the massive effort that went into this four-year project .  In the last two years, the accomplishments on the RNP project are historic and industry leading:

• Modified more than 444 aircraft with software and GPS devices
• Maintenance reformatted the avionics displays of 343 Boeing 737s in just four short days
• Flight Ops completed 36,000 pilot training events in 24 months
• Dispatch trained all Southwest Flight Dispatchers in RNP procedures
• Assisted the FAA in the design of new efficient RNP procedures in 20 airports

It’s pretty amazing, but not unusual, what the Warrior Spirit of Southwest Airlines Employees can accomplish!  Probably one of the most exciting things that came out of the ceremony yesterday was when Jeff mentioned that on January 11, 2011, we will deploy our fleet into daily RNP operations and jumpstart our Nation’s performance-based navigation program.  The Southwest Team prepared for this historic milestone on scheduled, as promised, and on budget! 

Congratulations Gary, Jeff, and the entire Southwest Team!! 

For more information on RNP and our environmental efforts, check out the Southwest Airlines One Report™ at www.southwest.com/cares.