The Boeing Company today helped
Southwest Airlines usher in its 30th year of operations in style - by delivering two, single-aisle
Next-Generation 737-700s sporting a new livery.
"Southwest is probably as close to a universal role model for business as exists anywhere today, and airlines around the world are fashioning themselves after Southwest," said Carolyn Corvi, Boeing vice president and general manager of the 737 program. "It's no wonder. Southwest reminds us that serving customers is the only reason to be in business. They excel at understanding what passengers really want."
One hundred and twenty Southwest Airlines employees (including 22 of the airlines' original employees) were on hand for the delivery ceremony and became the very first Southwest employees to view the airplanes painted in the new color scheme. Immediately following the ceremony, those employees boarded the two new aircraft for Dallas where, upon arrival, they were greeted by Southwest Airlines Chairman, President and CEO Herb Kelleher and hundreds of cheering Southwest employees and invited guests.
"Our new colors launch Southwest Airlines into the next millennium, bright with promise and brimming with opportunity," said Kelleher during the launch party in Dallas for the new livery and 30th anniversary of operations. "We've incorporated a new color to better reflect a more mature airline, but we kept our bright, red bellies to remind everyone that Southwest Airlines is still that spirited Freedom Fighter - keeping airfares low so that more people can afford to fly."
The new airplane livery adds Canyon Blue to Southwest's traditional gold, red and orange colors.
In addition to the sporty new color scheme, Southwest also is introducing an all-new interior. The new interior consists of an all-leather seating configuration, brushed aluminum surfaces, deep blue carpet, and newly designed windscreens.
"The two aircraft we unveiled today are the first of what will be an all new fleet paint design for Southwest Airlines," Kelleher said. "All new planes delivered from this day forward, will have our new colors. Our existing fleet will be retrofitted over time in the new livery."
Southwest expects to receive 25 Boeing 737-700s in 2001; 27 in 2002; and up to 26 in 2003. The airline currently has orders with Boeing up to 2012. Retrofits of the existing planes in its fleet will be done over the course of the next ten years as part of Southwest's normal maintenance program. The retrofits will begin as early as July.
Southwest Airlines, the fourth largest domestic carrier in terms of customers boarded, currently serves 59 airports in 58 cities in 29 states. Based in Dallas, Southwest operates more than 2,650 flights a day with a fleet of 346 Boeing 737s with an average age of 8.4 years - one of the youngest jet fleets in the domestic airline industry.
The Next-Generation 737 is the newest, most advanced jetliner in its class, and is the fastest selling new commercial jetliner in history. Since the program's launch in 1993, the airplane has logged more than 1,730 orders.