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Case Study Example: Southwest Airline Operational Management

3 pages
663 words
Harvey Mudd College
Type of paper: 
Case study
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Southwest airline was established by Texas businessman Rollin King and lawyer Herb Kelleher in 1967, and it stood to be an intrastate airline connecting Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Southwest airline adapted Love Field Airport as it set-up ground and achieve effective domination there. Southwest Airlines is the fourth leading air company in the USA regarding local clients carrier and has adorned the top client complaint record among all US commercial airline for the previous twelve years. Southwest carrier operates in over sixty metropolises in thirty federations in the United States of America and uses fifty-nine airports. Southwest was the first carrier to present a Web site on the internet.

Fortune name Southwest Air Company in 2003 as the most respected company in the USA. The accomplishment of Southwest carrier is mainly due to the manner it has managed its processes and cut expenses in numerous ways for example; use of smaller airports, use of one brand of the plane, point to point flights, little fee, quick boarding, no extra services and quick turnaround of airplanes. In this circumstance, actual process management has led to justifiable cost leadership (Collier & Evans, 2011). According to Herb Keller chairman of southwest commercial airline, it is easy to offer the boundless package at a high price and also easy to provide worthless service at a low charge. He further states that what is hard is offering many services at a low price and thats their central objective.

Southwest commercial model rotates around providing reliable, safe and short period inflight service at the lowest fee with a regular airplane trip of approximately four hundred miles. The company has benchmarked its budget contrary to ground transportation. Nonetheless, carrier believed that cost management should not dilute the value of service. According to the various investigation, Southwest follow a blanketing approach comparable to that of Wal-Mart, and when the carrier decided to serve a new city, then it arranged aircraft from the new town to two or more endpoints at which the company had earlier established. It is also noted that Southwest did not begin any service between two cities till they are capable of assigning the planes and personnel required to operate at least five to six trips a day (Collier & Evans, 2011).

Southwest commercial airline has a unique benefit linked to other air company by performing an effective and efficient process plan that form a significant pillar of its general company approach based on customer service, technology, operational costs and efficiency and worker or employment relations.

Labor expenses account for around thirty-seven percent of its operative costs perhaps the most severe component of the successful low ticket airline attaining meaningfully higher work output. Thus it is documented as uppermost unionized US carrier, and its remuneration rates are considered to be at or above standard compared to other air company. Fuel price is second largest expenditure for Southwest commercial airline, and it accounts approximately eighteen percent of the carriers operational budget. Furthermore, Air Company has positively implemented its fuel prevarication approach to save on fuel expenditure. Southwest operates it aircraft point to point service to capitalize on its operational effectiveness and stay budget effective. Most of the airlifts are short hauls as these approaches keep its trips in the air more often thus attaining better capacity utilization (Nahmias & Olsen, 2015).

Southwest airline flies to either secondary or minor airstrip in a determination to lessen travel delays hence offer outstanding services to its clients. Carrier fleet entails of Boeing 737 jets that achieve its single airplane approach. Having common plane expressively simplifies scheduling, operations, and aeronautical maintenance thus training expenses of pilots, mechanics and ground crew are lesser. Also, procuring, supplies and other processes are also simplified thereby lowering budgets. Introduction of electronic ticketing was the main benefit to the carrier because it could increase lesser its delivery expenses.



Collier, D. & Evans, J. (2011). OM 3. Cengage Learning.

Nahmias, S. & Olsen, T.L. (2015). Production and Operations Analysis: Seventh Edition. Waveland Press.


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