Southwest Cleared for Takeoff: Vows to Grow Again

After shrinking for the first time in its history in 2009, Southwest Airlines has promised its pilots that it will resume its growth by next year. Southwest has announced that it is expecting to make a profit in 2009.


Southwest

In a new contract tentatively agreed to with its pilots, Southwest said it would grow by 5 percent in 2011 and 2012. The company also committed to add 27 new Boeing 737s to its fleet by 2012. Southwest also promised that it won’t enter into any domestic schedule-sharing agreements, like the international partnerships it has forged with a Mexican and a Canadian airline. This will assure the pilots that all domestic flying added to Southwest’s schedule will be flown by them.

The airline has also given annual raises to the pilots of at least 2 percent beginning this year, as well as making the pay hike retroactive to 2007. Pay raises will be based on company profitability for 2010 and 2011.

Southwest pilots are the highest paid in the industry, and earn an average of $167,000 annually.