Southwest Airlines expects to take delivery of its first Boeing 737-800 in March 2012, the company’s chairman, president and CEO, Gary Kelly, revealed during a Wings Club luncheon in New York City today. The airline plans to substitute order position on twenty 737-700s for slots on the same number of 737-800s. It remains in negotiations with Boeing over the precise terms, including configuration and equipment options.
The consolidation of the airline industry extended to the low-fare segment in dramatic fashion this morning, as Southwest Airlines announced that it has agreed to acquire all the outstanding common stock of AirTran Holdings for a combination of cash and Southwest Airlines common stock.
The NTSB is investigating the April 28 incident at Houston Hobby in which a Bell 407 operated by Helicopters, Inc. and a Southwest Airlines 737 nearly collided. Both aircraft were departing in day VFR.
The FAA today approved a plan that would require Southwest Airlines to replace unapproved parts installed on about 50 Boeing 737s–roughly 10 percent of its fleet–and for the aircraft to undergo inspections until the airline completes the fixes. The airline already has replaced parts on 30 other airplanes.
Republic Airways, on July 31, completed its acquisition of Midwest Airlines, then won a bid last month for Frontier Airlines after Southwest Airlines withdrew when talks between the airlines’ pilots for a new labor deal stalled. Republic paid $6 million in cash and has issued a $25 million five-year note convertible to Republic stock at $10 a share for Midwest. It bid $108.75 million for Frontier.
The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched investigators to examine a Southwest Airlines jet after it made an emergency landing in West Virginia yesterday after a hole opened in the body of the airplane and the cabin lost pressure.
The FAA’s proposed guidelines addressing crew fatigue on ultra-long-range flights by “flag carriers” (OpSpec A332) contain “substantive improvements” that the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) supports, but the trade association retains its “technical objection” to the crew complements referred to in the draft OpSpec.
The FAA yesterday reached a settlement with Southwest Airlines that reduces the civil penalty it proposed to levy against the carrier on March 6 last year from $10.2 million to $7.5 million. The agency proposed the penalty after it found that Southwest operated 46 airplanes on 59,791 flights without performing mandatory inspections for fuselage fatigue cracking.
US airlines continued to post improved on-time performance numbers in September—the third straight month they did so and beating the mark they set last year, according to Portland, Ore.-based FlightStats.com. The year-to-date numbers tell a similar story about the seven largest U.S.
The FAA has reached agreements with four U.S. airlines to fund in-cockpit runway safety systems, in this case electronic flight bags (EFBs), in exchange for the operational data those systems would generate. Under the plan, the FAA will provide $600,000 each to SkyWest Airlines, Piedmont Airlines, US Airways and Southwest Airlines to invest in the new technology in airplanes they’ll fly into and out of 21 testbed airports.