Southwest Airlines Flourishes in Era of Deregulation

Airline CEO Herb Kelleher Delivers Wings Club's

38th Annual General Harold R. Harris Sight Lecture



Apr 18, 2001, 01:00 ET from The Wings Club

    NEW YORK, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Deregulation of the airline industry
 fueled the success of Southwest Airlines as it freed the tiny Texas carrier in
 1979 to expand beyond the Lone Star State's borders and into the wild frontier
 of air travel.
     "Southwest would never have become an interstate air carrier were it not
 for such deregulation," Herb Kelleher, Southwest's chairman, president, and
 CEO, told a Wings Club audience today during his Sight Lecture.  "Today,
 Southwest, according to recent testimony before Congress, alone provides
 90 percent of all of the low fare competition in America."
     Kelleher credits deregulation with allowing Southwest to expand, and the
 airline now serves 57 cities in 29 states and carries more than 65 million
 passengers each year.  Its success in lowering fares and stimulating traffic
 at airports across the country has been coined the "Southwest Effect" by the
 U.S. Department of Transportation.
     "So, Southwest is here with the wind of deregulatory change, rather than
 gone with that wind," he said.  "The competition and lower fares produced by
 airline deregulation have enabled many more people to fly, and to fly more
 often, for both business and personal reasons."
     Before Southwest, he said, only 15 percent of adults in the United States
 had flown on even one commercial flight.  Today, that percentage has
 skyrocketed to 85 percent and the number of domestic trips by air has gone up
 more than 200 percent since deregulation in 1978.
     Among the latest challenges for the deregulated industry, Kelleher said,
 is to jump-start needed airport capacity expansion that has been stagnant even
 as deregulation has "unleashed consumer demand."
     The president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association recently
 testified that only 50 miles of new runway construction would dramatically
 reduce flight delays in America.
     This should be construed as a national emergency, Kelleher said.
     "The political will to build more runways has been startlingly absent," he
 said.  "The productivity of airplanes and airline employees is being seriously
 eroded; the productivity of the airline passenger is being steadily impaired;
 and the increased costs occasioned by runway delays are inexorably producing
 much higher fares."
 
     The Wings Club was founded in 1942 in New York City as an organization for
 aviation professionals and enthusiasts to preserve the history and perpetuate
 the traditions of aviation while providing an important forum for discussion
 and debate on aeronautic and aviation issues.  For more information on The
 Wings Club contact General Manager Alison Minton at 212-867-1770.
 
 

SOURCE The Wings Club
    NEW YORK, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Deregulation of the airline industry
 fueled the success of Southwest Airlines as it freed the tiny Texas carrier in
 1979 to expand beyond the Lone Star State's borders and into the wild frontier
 of air travel.
     "Southwest would never have become an interstate air carrier were it not
 for such deregulation," Herb Kelleher, Southwest's chairman, president, and
 CEO, told a Wings Club audience today during his Sight Lecture.  "Today,
 Southwest, according to recent testimony before Congress, alone provides
 90 percent of all of the low fare competition in America."
     Kelleher credits deregulation with allowing Southwest to expand, and the
 airline now serves 57 cities in 29 states and carries more than 65 million
 passengers each year.  Its success in lowering fares and stimulating traffic
 at airports across the country has been coined the "Southwest Effect" by the
 U.S. Department of Transportation.
     "So, Southwest is here with the wind of deregulatory change, rather than
 gone with that wind," he said.  "The competition and lower fares produced by
 airline deregulation have enabled many more people to fly, and to fly more
 often, for both business and personal reasons."
     Before Southwest, he said, only 15 percent of adults in the United States
 had flown on even one commercial flight.  Today, that percentage has
 skyrocketed to 85 percent and the number of domestic trips by air has gone up
 more than 200 percent since deregulation in 1978.
     Among the latest challenges for the deregulated industry, Kelleher said,
 is to jump-start needed airport capacity expansion that has been stagnant even
 as deregulation has "unleashed consumer demand."
     The president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association recently
 testified that only 50 miles of new runway construction would dramatically
 reduce flight delays in America.
     This should be construed as a national emergency, Kelleher said.
     "The political will to build more runways has been startlingly absent," he
 said.  "The productivity of airplanes and airline employees is being seriously
 eroded; the productivity of the airline passenger is being steadily impaired;
 and the increased costs occasioned by runway delays are inexorably producing
 much higher fares."
 
     The Wings Club was founded in 1942 in New York City as an organization for
 aviation professionals and enthusiasts to preserve the history and perpetuate
 the traditions of aviation while providing an important forum for discussion
 and debate on aeronautic and aviation issues.  For more information on The
 Wings Club contact General Manager Alison Minton at 212-867-1770.
 
 SOURCE  The Wings Club