Tuesday, April 24, 2007

This Just In...

It has just been reported that Southwest has added four daily non-stop flights in six cities nationwide. With the addition of four more daily non-stop flights, Southwest customers will have the opportunity to choose from a variety of low fare options that may help to better accommodate their needs.

The cities Southwest has decided to add the non-stop flights to are as follows...

Manchester-Boston Regional Airport

Salt Lake City International Airport

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Raleigh-Durham International Airport

McCarran International Airport

Southwest Airlines Vice President of Marketing, Sales, and Distribution, Kevin Krone said, "Southwest is dedicated to bringing Customers more nonstop flights to the places they want to go. We've grown tremendously in the past year. We have added nearly 200 daily departures to our schedule and announced that we will begin service to San Francisco this fall."

Take a look at what Southwest has in store for their new daily non-stop flights...

Beginning August 26, 2007:

  • One new daily nonstop round trip between Manchester (Boston area) and Phoenix.
  • One additional daily nonstop round trip between Phoenix and Salt Lake City (for a total of eight).

Beginning October 4, 2007:

  • One additional daily nonstop round trip between Las Vegas and Raleigh-Durham (for a total of two).
  • One additional daily nonstop round trip between Las Vegas and Seattle (for a total of four).

When Southwest begins the operation of their new daily non-stop flights the company will still continue to offer the best value to their customers. Like Southwest's current flights, the new non-stop flights will enable customers to have a comfortable amount of leg room, premium leather seats, complementary snacks, juices and sodas along with pillows and blankets for the comfort of the passengers.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mike Hafner Named Vice President of Inflight Services for Southwest!

Mike Hafner was announced the vice president of inflight services on March 14,2007.

Mike's Duties will include reporting directly to Daryl Krause, the Senior Vice President of Inflight Services & Provisioning. Mike will also take primary responsibility for serving the groups which make up the Inflight Department including the carrier's 8,900 Flight Attendants, Initial and Recurrent Inflight Training team, Inflight Crew Planning, Scheduling, Audit, Payroll, and Inflight Employee Resources and Automation.

Mike's Focus Areas:

  • Safety
  • Staffing
  • Training
  • Scheduling
  • Customer Service delivery
  • Labor relations
  • Regulatory compliance

Previous vice president, Daryl Krause states, "Mike Hafner is one of our most experienced Leaders when it comes to serving our Frontline Employees and Customers, he has grown up at Southwest Airlines, understanding the importance of exceptional Customer Service for both our Internal and External Customers. With his 26 years of experience, I know our Inflight Services Team will benefit from Mike's Frontline Customer Service experience."

Mike began working for Southwest in 1981 in Houston as a ramp agent and has since worked in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, and Phoenix fulfilling various jobs such as Customer Service Agent, Operations Agent, Operations Supervisor, Customer Service Manager, Assistant Station Manager, Station Manager, Regional Director, and Senior Director of Stations. It is employees like Mike who have helped Southwest to be named Business Week's first ever list of "Customer Service Champs."

Southwest's 85 page annual report is a slick marketing piece. The opening page of the annual report includes graphs and charts showing the company's net income and consolidated highlights. The following pages include extremely colorful pictures both real and fake. Interestingly, the fake pictures are drawings of CEO Gary Kelly, President Colleen Barrett and Chairman of the Board Herbert Kelleher. The annual report goes on to show real photos of southwest airplanes, employees and customers. A majority of the pages include graphs to display company numbers.

The Southwest Airline's website simply posts their annual SEC filings under the Investor Relations link. When you arrive at the page that displays the SEC filings in chart form, you are able to download the statements by choosing either Microsoft Word or Excel, an HTML document or Adobe Reader. The chart displayed on the opening SEC Filings page shows the date it was filed on. Also included within the SEC filings page is the option to view 10-K(annual) filing very simply.

The goal of Southwest's annual report seems to be their opportunity to tell their company's story. The annual report really shows the strengths of the company, the achievements of the company and the future goals of the company. The annual report begins by stating who the company is and Southwest's history in story form. Within their opening statement they explain their customer service initiatives and state that they have one of the best overall company customer service records. Throughout the annual report graphs and pictures are shown which helps to keep the reader's attention.

Through the letter to the shareholders, Southwest conveys several messages. The letter is opened up by telling the shareholders that Southwest just experienced their 34th consecutive year of gaining profit which no other airline has ever done, this message allows the shareholders to understand that Southwest continues to satisfy their customers which results in gaining profit year after year. The letter then sends the message to the shareholders that the company performs above and beyond which results in customer satisfaction and strong revenue growth. The tone of the letter is glowing and informative. The letter demonstrates "glow" as it talks about Southwest employees and how they have done an excellent job making customers happy and how they have worked extremely hard to lower airline fuel costs. The letter informs Southwest shareholders of the company's previous achievements, spectacular improvements and also goes into detail about their plans to expand the flight route network, the letter states that "In 2007, we presently plan to add 37 new Boeing 737s to our fleet of 481 aircraft." This letter is extremely creditable and believable, it is very honest and gives valid statistics. The letter was signed by CEO Gary Kelly, President Colleen Barrett and Chairman of the Board Herbert Kelleher.

This news release titled "Southwest Airlines Reports First Quarter Earnings; 64th Consecutive Quarter of Profitability," is reader friendly in some aspects, for example, the quotes coming from the CEO are straight forward and easy to understand. However, there are aspects of this news release that discuss technical company numbers and percentages.

The story found from Forbes titled, "Earnings Preview: Southwest Airlines," clarifies what was stated in the earnings release, explaining that "Southwest, like the overall airline industry, suffered a series of setbacks during the first quarter." That direct quote clarifies what CEO Gary C. Kelly stated, "Although we are gratified to report our 64th consecutive quarter of profitability, it is disappointing to report first quarter economic earnings below year-ago levels." Not earning the profit that Southwest did last year is a setback to the company. The messages do not conflict, both give readers the same idea of what happened with Southwest's latest earnings.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Southwest's First Quarter Earnings Are Out & Profit Has Been Gained For The 64th Consecutive Year!!

Southwest has reported their 2007 first quarter earnings on April 19th and the numbers show that the airline continues to have a profitable year, for the 64th year in a row. Southwest is proud of their achievements however, the profit is below what it was last year at this time. Southwest's CEO explained that the profits are lower this year due to the high cost of fuel and the earnings last year were exceptionally strong. Southwest's total costs for 2007 were 1.7 % higher than 2006.

The Southwest website states that the "Net income for first quarter 2007 was $93 million, or $.12 per diluted share, compared to $61 million, or $.07 per diluted share, for first quarter 2006. Economic net income for first quarter 2007 was $33 million, or $.04 per diluted share, compared to $64 million, or $.08 per diluted share, for first quarter 2006. This economic net income result is in line with First Call's mean estimate of $.04 per diluted share for first quarter 2007."

The financial highlights that Southwest experienced in the 2007 first quarter are...
  • Record first quarter revenues of $2.2 billion, up 8.9 percent
  • Economic net income of $33 million, down 48.4 percent
  • Economic net income per diluted share of $.04, down 50 percent
  • Repurchased 13.5 million shares of common stock for $209 million

Given the fact that Southwest has experienced an increase in total costs and a decrease in total profit in comparison to last years numbers, the airline will still continue to value their customers as they always do and will stay dedicated to maintaining their signature low fare tickets. Southwest did a web cast on April 19th to discuss the first quarter of 2007 financial results.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Southwest And Coca-Cola Extend Their Contract For 3 Years

Southwest Airlines has announced that they will continue to serve Coca-Cola products for the next three years.

The following Coca-Cola products are served on Southwest...

  • Coke
  • Diet Coke
  • Sprite
  • Sprite Zero
  • Seagram's Mixers
  • Minute Maid Juices

Southwest's Vice President of Provisioning, Scott Halfmann, stated, "We are pleased to continue our long-term partnership with Coca-Cola. It's great to work with a partner who understands our Corporate Culture and operating philosophy which focuses on providing outstanding Customer Service and running an efficient airline operation.We look forward to working together and providing our Customers their favorite products while on board their favorite low-fare Leader - Southwest Airlines."

Coca-Cola's Vice President of North American Sales, Jim Terry, Stated, "We are proud to extend our relationship with Southwest Airlines. We have partnered together to refresh Employees of Southwest Airlines and Southwest Airlines Customers for more than 35 years, "We look forward to continuing this great alliance."

The news release coming from Southwest.com explains how Southwest offers the best value in airline travel and how Coca-Cola is recognized as the world's most valuable brand. Together, Southwest and Coca-Cola are able to form an alliance and make people's lives happier above the clouds.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Share Repurchase Authorization

Southwest has announced that they have authorized a new share repurchase program. The share repurchase program will acquire up to $300 Million worth of stocks.

The Southwest website has stated that on March 14th the company's close price was $14.88, this price represents approximately 20.2 million shares of common stock. The repurchase authorizations will be made in accordance to the open market or private transaction security laws. Currently, Southwest has approximately 785 million shares of common stock. The shares that will be retired could potentially be used for funding of the Company's Employee stock plans or the repurchased could be retired.

The CEO of Southwest, Gary Kelly, said, "Today's announcement affirms our confidence in our future growth opportunities and plans, as well as our continued commitment to increase Shareholder value. While our number one priority remains to profitably grow our route system, our strong balance sheet and liquidity allows us to use our capital base to further enhance Shareholder value over the long-term. This new $300 million authorization is in addition to the $400 million buyback program initiated in November 2006, which was completed this month. Since the beginning of 2006, we have completed three buyback programs and have repurchased 62.1 million shares of common stock for a total of $1 billion."

The press release announcing Southwest's Share Repurchase Authorization titled "Southwest Airlines Announces Share Repurchase Authorization," goes into detail about Southwest's management's objectives, projections, estimates, expectations, and predictions through the CEO's statement.