I’m happy to report aircraft N409WN has emerged from the paint hangar in Spokane as Southwest's new Triple Crown One specialty plane, featuring both its original #1 heart medallion, along with our new Heart branding on its tail.
Originally introduced on June 9, 1997, Triple Crown One was dedicated to the Employees of Southwest Airlines responsible for achieving five annual “Triple Crowns” for number one in ontime performance, baggage handling, and Customer Service (based on DOT reports from 1992-1996). The names of each of the 24,113 Employees are etched on the overhead bins in recognition of their individual efforts toward achieving the Triple Crown for five years running. With our Company's focus on Reliability and Hospitality, Triple Crown One stands as an important reminder to all Employees of how everyone’s individual contributions continue to make Southwest Airlines the world’s most loved, most flown and most profitable airline.
During a scheduled Maintenance visit later next month, overhead bin doors containing the names of the Employees who were originally part of this momentous accomplishment will be installed on our new Triple Crown One, just as they were in 1997. If you are one of more than 12,000 active Employees with us today whose name appeared on the original aircraft, you may find your name in a slightly different location on the bin doors due to the differences in design between our Classic and Next Generation cabin designs. The original overhead bins will be on special display at our Training and Operations Support facility in Dallas.
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As you know, the -800 represents many exciting opportunities for Southwest’s future. And, in some ways, it seems like only yesterday that we announced our intentions of adding this longer-range, more economical aircraft to our fleet. Months later, we were already adding the lines of flight the -800 will cover into our flight schedule. And now, I’m especially proud and excited to share this video of our very first -800—aircraft number 8301—fresh from the assembly line and paint shop.
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Southwest re-entered the Denver market in January 2006, and since that time, the Mile High City has become our fastest growing city in our history. Our presence in Denver has grown from 13 daily flights to 159, and our commitment to the city of Denver has reached far beyond our presence at Denver International Airport (DIA). Denver was a natural fit to support our growing operation and meet the need for a new Crew base for our Pilots and Flight Attendants. So, we plan to open our newest Pilot domicile in October of this year and Flight Attendant domicile during the fourth quarter. I know our Employees will be as thrilled about our newest home as I am. We anticipate the new Crew domicile, which will be our ninth, will be home to at least 250 Pilots and at least 400 Flight Attendants, with potential to grow as needed. The lounges will be located on the third level of concourse C at DIA. The new base will have a top-notch lounge and will serve as an office on the ground for our Employees. Flight Crews who are stationed in Denver may report to these offices before and after trips to receive briefings, to access required reading material, to learn about any changes in policies or schedules, and to catch up on Southwest news. Geographically, Denver is separated from our existing domiciles, which provides better Crew coverage for the network while also insulating it from regional weather events that may impact other domiciles. Additionally, Denver has a relatively low cost of living, a high quality of life, and a number of Pilots and Flight Attendants already living in the region, making it an easy selection. In fact, Denver has been one of the most frequently requested destinations for a new Crew base! I look forward to opening the domicile and supporting a growing Denver market.
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This is the eighth in a series of posts about our integrated annual report, the 2010 Southwest Airlines One Report™, where we have illustrated our commitment to a triple bottom line and how our passion and focus on Performance, People, and Planet continues to propel us forward.
Helping preserve our planet and conserve resources is important to us here at Southwest, because this is what we do – we help people see the world. Good stewardship is not only the right thing to do as citizens of our planet, but also because our business is giving people access to see the world. When I think of environmental stewardship, I think of efficiency, which is the elimination of waste, a streamlined way of doing business, and an effective use of our resources. It’s fitting then that efficiency is the foundation of our environmental commitment, because efficiency and the planet go hand-in-hand. The 2010 Southwest Airlines One Report™ details how when we are efficient in our flight paths and fuel burn, we reduce emissions; when we clean our engines, they run more efficiently and save fuel and reduce emissions; how when we use electric ground support equipment, we create a better, cleaner work environment for our People, reduce emissions, and save fuel. An efficient use of our resources also is important. I am very proud of the way our Employees have embraced our co-mingled recycling efforts. In 2010, we saw an increase of 69 percent in the amount of waste diverted from the waste stream to recycling. That is pretty amazing! I think recycling is a great example of environmental decisions making good business sense, because it is definitely an environmental decision to recycle aluminum, cardboard, plastic, and paper. It is a great business decision because we spend millions of dollars a year on waste pickups – by diverting recyclables from the waste stream, we reduce the number of waste pickups, which is a true bottom line savings. It’s a win for our planet and our business. We are proud of our commitment to being a good citizen of the world. We look forward to sharing the journey with you in our blog post series on Performance, People, and Planet, and we hope it will inspire you to read our 2010 Southwest Airlines One Report™, which, in an effort to conserve our natural resources, can only be found online at www.southwest.com/citizenship.
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Being ranked fourth by Fortune on their World’s Most Admired Company list is a great honor, and we are certainly in good company with Apple, Google, and Berkshire Hathaway ahead of us. When you think of how many businesses there are worldwide, being named to this elite group is a remarkable achievement. What’s even more remarkable is that we have been in this “neighborhood” before. In the five previous rankings, we were in the top-ten for three of those rankings and the top-20 the other two years.
Probably the most gratifying part of the Fortune rankings is that executives at other companies, including our competitors, compile the rankings. Having said that, while the recognition is amazing, we know our real rankings are based on how we do with you, our Customers, on a daily basis. Over the next few days, you will see some posts on different traits that we think make Southwest admirable like Culture and Customer Service, just to name a few.
The most admirable aspect of Southwest Airlines is our Employees. What they’ve accomplished in 40 years is truly amazing. One of my favorite things about Southwest gets said a lot, but it is true. Any airline can copy our business model, and because it’s a good one, they probably will have some success. What they can’t copy are our People, who are the profound Southwest difference. And those people do two amazing things that sound so simple, but are so difficult to do well: One is that they work hard, fueled by a desire to be the best—this is part of what we call the Warrior Spirit. The other is that they follow The Golden Rule and treat others the way they would like to be treated, and this is a Servant’s Heart.
Are we perfect? Nope because we are a Company of over 35,000 Employees and somewhere across our system, an Employee may be having a bad day. In addition, we are an airline, and we operate through rain, snow, and wind. Weather affects airline operations, and flights run late at times. We can’t eliminate challenges, but we can control our response to those challenges, and even though we may be having a bad day, we will do our best to make it your best day ever. While we are very grateful for this honor, the honor that counts most is your continued patronage.
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This is the final blog in a series of posts about our new Southwest Airlines One Report ™—a single report on our triple bottomline of Performance, People, and Planet adhering to Global Reporting Initiative standards. As an airline, being Green isn’t always easy. Considering that the majority of our carbon footprint is fuel burn, it’s important for Southwest to not only understand our impact on the environment but to grasp what we can do and are doing to minimize it. This is what we do – we help people see the world, so it is important that we do everything in our power that our resources and business allow to preserve the natural spaces around us. Good stewardship is not only the right thing to do as citizens of our planet, but, because our business is giving people access to see the world, we should want to help preserve it. Our industry has helped make the world accessible - spending the morning in Africa and the evening in Greece or dipping your toe in the Pacific in the morning and back home in Chicago in the evening to tuck your kids into bed. If we exist to make the world a smaller place—we need to protect it, which makes the Green focus so important for us at Southwest and why we put a Green filter on business decisions. How are we operating with a Green filter? All of our Boeing 737-700 aircraft are equipped with winglets, and we continue to add additional winglets to our 737-300 aircraft. With an approximate 2.5 to 3 percent in fuel consumption savings, these winglet installations equated to an annual fuel savings of more than 33 million gallons just in 2009. We also continued our $175 million, six-year initiative to implement Required Navigation Performance (RNP) systemwide. RNP procedures are designed to conserve fuel, improve safety, and reduce carbon emissions, while simultaneously taking advantage of the high-performance characteristics that exist in an airline’s fleet. This flight efficiency improvement saved us 4.8 million gallons alone in 2009. It’s exciting to see us become one of the leading carriers in the industry today with the expectation of being the first major U.S. airline to have RNP sytemwide. On the ground, we are proactively acting by converting our ground support equipment (GSE), equipment like tugs and baggage carts, to cleaner-burning technologies, such as electricity, before state or federal emission reduction regulations even require us to do so. With more than 1,000 pieces of equipment in our GSE fleet, we have the industry-leading program using this greener technology, which allowed us to save about 460,000 gallons of fuel and reduced emissions by approximately 4,580 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2009. In other words, this would be like removing 876 cars from the road. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2009, we saved 8.5 million gallons of jet fuel beyond our already aggressive conservation program, we recycled 210,000 pounds of batteries, we recovered 5.7 billion British thermal units of energy from used oil, filters, and liquid and solid paint, and we recycled 11,000 fluorescent bulbs from facilities and our aircraft. We know environmental decisions also make good business sense, so it’s in our DNA to take responsibility, be efficient, and continue to find ways to reduce our carbon footprint by operating with a Green filter. To read more about our environmental efforts in the Southwest Airlines One Report™ CLICK HERE.
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Earlier today, I shared with our Employees that Southwest has been evaluating the opportunity to introduce the Boeing 737-800 into our fleet as part of our domestic network, but we have not yet finalized our decision. While the aircraft introduces additional complexities to our operation, we believe our existing network could be enhanced by converting some of our future 737-700 deliveries to 737-800s. Introducing the -800, which has more seating capacity than the -700, would be a complementary fit to our current fleet by supplementing opportunities for longer-haul flying, while also potentially improving our unit costs. The -800 can also give Southwest scheduling flexibility by allowing for additional capacity in high-demand, slot-controlled, or gate-restricted markets—in other words, we can carry more passengers to some of our most popular destinations. Since the decision to add the -800 has not been finalized, any details regarding configuration, timing, and quantity of deliveries are still to be determined. Given the long Boeing lead time from order to delivery, Southwest would need to make a final decision by December 1 to begin accepting deliveries by early 2012. We are proud to continue our strong history of being the largest Boeing 737 operator in the world, and excited for the potential opportunities that lie ahead for Southwest Airlines which would come with introducing the -800 into our fleet.
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