Southwest Airlines SWOT analysis

Essay by mlke2oooUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2004

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Southwest Airlines SWOT analysis

Southwest Airlines is the fifth largest airline company in America, operating more than 2,700 flights per day and carrying over 64 million passengers a year to 58 different cities all over the United States. Southwest Airlines has many competitive advantages which have helped it dominate its industry, and while being successful, there are still areas where Southwest can improve performance. The low cost segment of the airline industry is growing and Southwest must create and capitalize on opportunities while identifying and overcoming threats.

Southwest Airlines, started by Herb Kelleher in 1971 has achieved success by following a simple yet brilliant principle: if you get your passengers to their destinations when they want to get there, on time, at the lowest possible fares, and make sure they have a good time doing it, people will fly your airline. Although it might seem easier said than done, Southwest manages to attain this goal by cutting costs and keeping employees happy.

In the domestic airline industry, the Southwest Airline Co. has the lowest operating cost structure at 7.5 cents per seat mile. Although the airline does fly out of major downtown airports, it also makes use of numerous satellite airfields that are located outside of major cities. This, for one, drives down the hefty cost of rental space. Southwest also has only one variety of aircraft, the Boeing 737, which makes schedules, maintenance and training easier and cost effective. The airline also cuts costs by having flight attendants clean the planes between flights, removing the need for cleaning crews. The rapid succession of its flights allows Southwest to offer lower fares, making necessary profit over the span of a day instead of with each flight.

Southwest's employees are more productive than its competitors' employees in many ways. Southwest...