Southwest Airlines Reports Fourth Quarter Profit and 37th Consecutive Year of Profitability

Southwest Airlines today reported its fourth quarter and full year 2009 results.  Net income for fourth quarter 2009 was$116 million, compared to a net loss of $56 million for fourth quarter 2008.  Excluding special items for both years, fourth quarter 2009 net income was $74 million, compared to $61 million in fourth quarter 2008.


Gary C. Kelly, CEO, stated: “In what has been, perhaps, the
most difficult revenue environment the airline industry has ever faced, we are
extremely proud to report our 2009 earnings, which represents our 37th
consecutive year of profitability.  To report any profit in these times is
a major accomplishment, and I could not be more proud of our Employees who
worked so hard to finish the year strong with a fourth quarter and full year
profit.   Our People responded swiftly and successfully to the dramatic
fall-off in demand for business travel precipitated by the recession.  We
introduced and implemented new products, programs, and processes, some that
were unplanned at the start of last year, to drive revenues and enhance our
already strong Brand and Customer Experience.  We made significant
advancements in our revenue management and network optimization capabilities;
opened four new cities; introduced EarlyBird Check-in; implemented changes to
our Unaccompanied Minor program; introduced our Pets Are Welcome on Southwest
product; introduced the initial phases of a new and improved; and
made major advancements in our core technology to support future Rapid Rewards
program upgrades and international codesharing.  

“With our successful Bags Fly Free program and every
day low fares, we bring tremendous value to our Customers.  We estimate
our share of the domestic market rose at least one percent in 2009, despite
offering fewer seats in 2009.  Our monthly load factors have been at
record levels since July 2009, beating long-standing records, and our unit
revenue trends continue to significantly outperform the industry, with a fourth
quarter year-over-year increase of 7.4 percent.  Despite record load
factors, we had an exceptional year of operations, delivering superb Customer
Service.  According to the most current statistics published by the U.S.
Department of Transportation, we consistently rank at the top for Customer
Satisfaction for having the lowest Customer complaint ratio.  During 2009,
we also achieved among the highest marks for our Ontime Performance, and we had
fewer flight cancellations than 2008’s outstanding performance, canceling less
than one percent of all flights scheduled.   In addition, our mishandled
baggage numbers improved dramatically in 2009 and are among the best in our
history.  With strong revenue and booking trends continuing thus far into
2010, we expect another year-over-year increase in unit revenue for first quarter