So my Hawaii source sent me this and said said an announcement could be coming this afternoon 15:00 Herb 10:00 Hawaiian.
Good morning, everybody, and thanks for calling the Employee Newsline. This is Gary Kelly, on Monday, March 29. Well, as we continue to mark significant dates from our history throughout our 50th year, I’ve got a few to call out today. Fifty years ago today, our name changed from Air Southwest Co. to Southwest Airlines Co. And, our original Ops Leaders were hired—Dick Elliot, Jack Vidal, Donald Ogden, and Bill Franklin. They were affectionately known as the “Over the Hill Gang” based on the many years of experience that they brought with them from careers at other airlines.
And last but not least, 50 years ago today, we reached an agreement with Boeing for our first three airplanes, which we used to commence operations. So, March 29, 1971, was a big day in our history, and certainly in our relationship with Boeing. It’s only fitting, then, that today, 50 years later, we’ve got exciting news to share. You know we relaunched the MAX 8 on March 11. And following that positive news, you’ll be very pleased to know we have now completed our discussions with Boeing regarding our long-term order book. We’re extending our order book out through 2031. But, perhaps most exciting, we have completed our multi-year evaluation of the successor aircraft to the great 737-700. I’m very pleased to share that we have affirmed our selection of the MAX 7 aircraft with the addition of 100 firm orders, along with the first 30 scheduled to be delivered in 2022. So, the MAX 7 will be a cost-effective aircraft for us with 150 seats. It will be key for modernizing the fleet and replacing the 737-700s, and also for growth opportunities, as they arise. So, for 2021 through 2031, we now have 200 firm orders for the MAX 7; 149 firm orders for the MAX 8; and 270 options for either one. So, we reinforce our commitment to the MAX and our all-Boeing fleet, and this was our preference all along. But, as the MAX 8 is the best aircraft in the 175-seat class, we needed to make sure the MAX 7 is the best aircraft in its 150 seat class. We are very comfortable that it is. We’ll preserve the cost advantages of our single aircraft operation. The MAX is also more fuel-efficient and more climate-friendly, so all-around a great deal for Southwest, for you all, and for the next decade in terms of this new order book. If you haven’t seen Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven’s SWALife post, be sure to take a look at that and our press release for all the details.
So, this in and of itself is big news. But in addition to this news on our fleet, be sure to keep an eye on SWALife this afternoon for another fun announcement on this significant day in our history. You won’t want to miss it!
So I hope you all saw our Myrtle Beach announcement, which came with some exciting new service details for Austin this summer. It’s always fun to reiterate our commitment to a city, and especially in the heart of our home state of Texas. And we’re doing just that with nonstop service from Austin to a record 37 cities. That’s more than double the offering of any other carrier in Austin, and it’s a great way to continue to build on our nearly 45 years of service to our Customers there.
Now next, I want to applaud the Teams that have given our Customers departing our California gateways bound nonstop for both Honolulu and Kahului an opportunity to ‘Pre-Clear’ arrival into the State of Hawaii. This is under the state’s safe travels program. In the past couple of weeks of testing and rolling out the program, Ground Ops Employees have pre-cleared nearly 4,000 Customers whose test results and travel profiles were correctly completed before their flight. That allows a quicker exit from the airport on arrival in Hawaii. We’re now emailing Customers whose trips are eligible for this extra service and, overall, Southwest Airlines now offers more than 50 flights a day that touch Hawaii!
My Wings are clipped just another Retired Airline person. The Ultimate Armchair out of the loop airline industry geek. Aloha Mr Hand!