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Our Journey to Required Navigation Performance (RNP)

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It’s hard to believe that our journey to revolutionize automation at Southwest Airlines is finally here. In that time we developed the concept and training modules and incorporated autothrottle, vertical navigation, Primary Flight Display/Navigation Display (PFD/ND), and GPS procedures into our operation. We’re now about to take the final step in our automation transformation—Required Navigation Performance (RNP).

The Flight Training Center has been a hive of activity for the last two years. Nearly 6,000 Southwest Airlines Pilots have successfully completed RNP Training. Our Training Team did an absolutely phenomenal job of developing a world class training product that has prepared us to fly these new procedures. As we began training our New Hire Pilots last week, we have dedicated three days to preparing them for the automation environment in which they’ll be flying.

This project has meant much more than just flying RNP procedures. I remember hearing that Southwest Airlines would never use the autothrottle system. That change alone immediately netted us millions of dollars per month in fuel savings. The transition to PFD/ND displays in the flight deck better positioned us for the possibility to add the Boeing 737-800 to our fleet, and gave us the ability to look at growing our airline by acquiring another carrier. Neither opportunity would have been available had we not automated our aircraft. Finally, GPS procedures allow us to operate into airports where traditional navigation aids have previously limited our operations during airport construction and inclement weather.

Our journey to RNP could not have been realized without the support of our great Company. The multi-million dollar project is the most ever spent by Southwest on any internal project. Our Senior Leadership Team showed great vision and commitment by recognizing the value of Southwest leading the industry into the next generation of commercial aviation technology.

We also had the unwavering support of many other departments, and without them, we could not have achieved this success. Maintenance, Operations Coordination Center, Central Publications, and Technology all played critical roles in our automation transformation.  We are forever thankful for their service.

It’s time to fly RNP!

Explorer C
WE NEED: Southwest Airlines to ADD the BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON to the airports you serve. You are missing a great CANADIAN market because there are regular shuttle buses from Vancouver, British Columbia that bring passengers to the BELLINGHAM, WASHINGTON airport. You would have a remarkable increase in business.
Explorer C
Southwest...... Light years ahead of the competition! Congratulations for being on the cutting edge of commercial transport aviation.
Explorer C
Southwest the leading edge of technology! Well, except headsets....
Explorer C
That's really great for the airline and passengers. It's too bad the FAA is so far behind, and what let the system take advantage of all these advanced features. Delays will still be there, no reduced separation, and still only one airplane at a time on a runway. I applaud Southwest for what they have done, and crap on the FAA for shutting down the advanced routes into and out of Dallas. Yes it was the FAA just right when Southwest was ready to test the routes.
Explorer C
Yea for Southwest acquiring Air Tran. Do you think we can get service between Gulfport/Biloxi and Houston Hobby? That would be soooooo neat.
Explorer C
Southwest needs to do IPT or, after the AirTran approval, MDT from PHX.
Explorer C
Hello. My name is John Draper. I'm in charge of Communications for a company in Tacoma, WA. We're going to be doing a companywide sales conference at which we are doing an awards ceremony. We want the ceremony to have theme/look/feel of an airplane. Our motto for the ceremony is "We're Going Places Together." For example, the chairs in the room could be set up like the inside of an airplane. We could dress our senior vice presidents up as stewardesses and have them go up and down the “aisles” with drink carts handing out drinks and peanuts. We could have people enter the room through something that looks like an airport checkpoint. (Perhaps we could even make them take off their shoes and put them on a conveyor built and then pick up their shoes when they get through the door.) After people sit down, we could have an image of the CEO come on the video screen and say something like “Welcome to TrueBlue Airlines. Our goal at TrueBlue Airlines is to get you to $1.1 billion as soon as is possible. We may experience some economic turbulence during the flight, but you should know that TrueBlue has a winning strategy that will make sure something, something. . .” Anyway, I was hoping you guys might have done a meeting/ceremony with an airplane theme and you could give me some ideas Thanks -- john
Explorer C
Hoping that the acquisition of AirTran will bring you to Memphis. Southwest is my preferred airline and I miss you.
Explorer C
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: On 1-12-11 : I was on Flight 120 leaving Norfolk Va. to Jacksonville,Fl. @ 3:35pm , and just wanted to let you know, that the flight was terrific in every way, I was in a wheel chair and received Wonderful help from the attendent who took me to the plane, and all the crew on my flight were just amazingly helpful and courteous to all passengers, and I just wanted to let them know how much I appreciated everything, they were all THE GREATEST EVER, and i will always remember their Kindness and thoughtfulness! GOD BLESS all of you allways, BE SAFE and have a Blessed NEW YEAR TO ALL! LOVE TO ALL! Millie Broocke Hope I get the same crew going home on 1-26-11, Flight 743!
Adventurer A
Hi Mildred, So happy to hear that you received such wonderful service from our Employees when you traveled with us last week! I trust that you'll see the same Southwest hospitality on your return on 1/26. 🙂 Thanks for flying SWA!