Southwest Airline Case Study

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Southwest Airlines – 2008 Case Study Executive Summary Millions of people fly everyday. Southwest airlines provide low-fare travel among 58 cities in the United States. Although the airline industry suffered greatly in the aftermath of September 11, Southwest was able to continue to hold strong. Southwest airline continues to maintain steady sales as much of the industry was affected by changes in laws/regulations and competition entering the market. In the following report there is a brief introduction to Southwest Airlines and their strategy and then what, if anything, they need to do or not do to remain at the top and competitive in the airline industry. Situation Analysis Southwest Airlines was a vision that was created in response to all the highly priced airlines. Southwest has been able to withstand legal challenges, a need for additional capital and survived challenges from major airline carriers. It is a no-frills airline carrier that does not provide food, movies, reserved seats, first class or Wi-Fi. Their service strategy is based on short-haul, point-to-point direct flights that are accomplished with amazingly short turnaround times. With their strategy, Southwest has a strong majority of the market share in the point-to-point market. Southwest’s goal is to make air travel affordable to all, both the time-sensitive business traveler and the price-sensitive leisure traveler. They are able to offer their low ticket fare because of good management-labor relations, fast turnaround time at the gate, faster speed of operations offered with smaller airports, and lower maintenance costs due to flying only one model of airplane. The strong leadership, strategy and culture that were built and are supported by Herb Kelleher, the former CEO of Southwest, support all these items that keep ticket fares low. Problem Statement Southwest Airlines

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