Southwest Airlines Case Analysis

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Comprehensive Case Analysis
Southwest Airlines:
What¡¦s Next?

April 11, 2000
They Took a Great Idea and Made It Fly
Southwest Airlines Company is a domestic airline that provides primarily short-haul, high-frequency, point-point, low-fare service to 53 airports in 52 cities in26 states throughout the United States. Southwest focuses primarily on point-to-point service, providing more direct nonstop routes for short-haul customers and, therefore, minimizing connections, delays and total trip time. The company¡¦s average trip length is 441 miles with an average flight time of approximately one-hour. It was Rollin King¡¦s and Herb Kelleher¡¦s vision to start an airline that with a mission to get its passengers to their destinations when they want to get there, on time, and to provide this service at the lowest fare possible. On February 40, 1968 the Texas Aeronautical Commission approved Herb Kelleher and Rollin King¡¦s plans for Air Southwest Company to provide service for the three major cities in Texas. This approval was soon opposed and blocked by three major airlines. After 3 years of legal battles, broke, deep in debt and with four airplanes, Southwest Airline began service in June of 1971. In 1973 Southwest made it¡¦s first profit and has never looked back. It has made an annual profit each consecutive year thereafter. Southwest grew steadily, by 1975 it had operations in eight cities in Texas, and by 1980, it was the leader in the Texas region. It was attractive to customers that wanted frequent departures and low prices. With the low prices and its no frills philosophy, it quickly dominated every market it entered. In some markets, it entered competitors soon surrendered to Southwest allowing the airline to grow more quickly than estimated. Competitors often referred to Southwest as the ¡§ 500-pound cockroach that is was too big to stamp out.¡¨ As airfare continued to fall, passenger traffic increased drastically, but its competitors were losing money. Within 28 years, Southwest Airlines had become the fifth largest major airline in the United States. Southwest flies to 56 airports in 56 cities, carrying more than 52 million passengers a year. In May 1988 Southwest was the first to win the Triple Crown ¡V Best On-time Record, Best Baggage Handling, and Fewest Customer Complaints -- for a month, since then they have won it more than 30 times and have won five annual Triple Crowns 1992, 1993, 1994, 1994, and 1995. It is said that no other airline has contributed more to the advancement of the commercial airline industry. Southwest was the first to establish a frequent flyer program. They also offer Fun Fares, Fun Packs, ticketless travel, senior citizen discounts and many other programs for passengers.

Current Mission Statement
The current mission statement for Southwest Airlines reads as follows:

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.

Evaluation Matrix of Mission Statement
CustomersProducts/ServicesMarketsTechnologyConcern for Survival, Growth, and ProfitabilityPhilosophySelf-conceptConcern for Public ImageConcern for Employees NoYesNoNoNoYesNoYesNo

Revised Mission Statement
The current mission statement of Southwest Airlines does not satisfactorily address each component of the Evaluation Matrix of Mission Statements and therefore should be revised. I have revised the mission statement and believe the revision below better addresses each given area. 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 and delivered in a way that is consistent with the values of our customers, shareholders, employees, and the communities in which we operate.

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