Southwest Will Look at Buying Jets Other Than Boeing 737s After 48-Year Run
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October 25, 2019 - by Brian Sumers for skift.com
Southwest Airlines always is hesitant to mess with its secret sauce. But it's a gigantic airline, and it might benefit from operating more than one aircraft type.
Conventional wisdom suggests that the late Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher, who conceived the carrier's all-Boeing 737 strategy, would have never considered adding another aircraft type. But Kelleher, one of America's most shrewd airline executives, never issued such an edict.
"[People] ask, 'What would Herb do?'" current CEO Gary Kelly said Thursday on the airline's third-quarter earnings call. "I know what Herb did do, because we did this. We looked at it very carefully."
Southwest has flown the Boeing 737 for its entire 48-year-history, save for a brief experiment with Boeing 727s, allowing it to save costs on pilot training and maintenance. But the airline has never pledged it would only fly the 737 in perpetuity, and it's not doing so now, Kelly told analysts.
Jamie Baker, an analyst at JP Morgan, pointed out Southwest can acquire Airbus aircraft without placing an order for jets. It could move decisively, Baker said, by acquiring another U.S. airline.
Earlier this week, Joseph DeNardi, an analyst with Stifel, asked whether Southwest could target Alaska Airlines, or JetBlue Airways, which does not have any 737s...
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