Southwest Essay

2481 words - 10 pages

How Southwest sees its own environment in its own business and Industry
Southwest Airlines’ Mission and Objectives
Southwest Airlines' mission emphasizes a remarkably large degree on customer service and employee commitment. The mission of Southwest Airlines is "dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. Southwest proclaims, "We are a company of People, not planes. That is what distinguishes us from other airlines and other companies." In many respects, the vision that distinguishes Southwest from many of its opponents is the degree to which it is defined by a unique partnership with, and ...view middle of the document...

For example, by serving smaller, less congested secondary airports in larger cities, which tend to have lower gate costs and landing fees, Southwest can maintain schedules cheaply and easily. Southwest's methodology is also assisted by its focus on the southwest and other locations with generally exceptional weather conditions, which leads to far fewer delays. Moreover, by following a point-to-point strategy, Southwest need not synchronize flight schedules into connecting hubs and spokes, which radically reduces scheduling complication and costs.
Route Structure
Traditionally, Southwest has focused on relatively short-haul flights and has experienced substantial threat from providers of ground transportation (cars, trains and buses) because the buyers of these short-haul amenities tend to be quite price sensitive. Southwest has expanded the market for air travel by appealing to large numbers of clienteles who previously relied on ground transportation. For example, before it entered the Louisville to Chicago market, weekly traffic totaled 8,000 passengers. Once Southwest entered the market, that number grew to over 26,000. This surge in traffic is now known as "The Southwest Effect." Concentration on short-haul flights has also permitted them to cut back costly services such as food, which passengers demand on longer flights. Passengers are given only an "extended snack" -- cheese, some crackers and a Nutri-Grain bar.
Turnaround Time
Its route arrangement has helped Southwest to experience the most rapid aircraft turnaround time in the business (15-20 minutes vs. an industry average of 55 minutes). Remarkably, Southwest's "10 Minute Turnaround" can be traced directly to the carrier's first days of operations in Texas when monetary pressures forced the company to sell one of the four Boeing 737s it had bought for its initial service. Having only three planes to fly three routes required very rapid turnaround.
Rapid turnaround time is vital for short-haul fights because airplanes are airborne for a reduced proportion of time than on long-haul flights. Faster turnaround also allows Southwest to fly more daily legs with each plane, which in turn increases its monies turnover.
Fleet Composition
Southwest has the simplest fleet structure among all major airlines. The firm only flies Boeing 737 planes and is devoted to flying the 737 solely through the foreseeable future.
In selecting the fuel efficient 737, Southwest established a close rapport with Boeing that allowed it to develop reasonably favorable procurement terms. Although Southwest flies a number of model variations of the 737, the flight stations of the entire fleet are standardized. Therefore, any pilot can fly any aircraft and any airplane can be deployed on any route. In addition to helping capture scale economies at a much reduced size than its larger opponents, the standardized fleet structure reduces the convolutions of training, maintenance and service. It is...

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