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Dirkou
Topic Author
Posts: 372
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2003 2:57 am

Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 12:56 am

Hi

I've been on a recent flight with Southwest and I noted all the times since the aircraft parked on the gate to push-back:

00:00 Chocks (5 service cars already waiting for the plane to stop)
00:01 Start to take bags out
00:01 Doors open
00:02 Passegenrs starting to leave the plane
00:07 New passengers start to board
00:15 Finished loading bags for the new flight
00:20 Last passenger boards
00:31 Push back

This is the fast turn around in any airline and I believe the secret success of SWA. Any comments?
 
NIKV69
Posts: 14330
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RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 1:00 am

It's been common knowledge for a long time that WN can turn a plane around in 30 mins. It's one of their biggest assets and it's why they make so much money. Keep em flying! That is what makes their maintenance so good as well. Those planes are always tip top!
90 Day Fiancé has taught me that Russian woman are excellent.
 
7e72004
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Joined: Thu Apr 01, 2004 12:15 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 1:04 am

Aren't the turnaround times in PHL a little more with it just being PHL?
The next generation of aircraft is just around the corner!
 
PHLapproach
Posts: 1072
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RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 1:54 am

lol, what makes you say that? Just because they are sitting in line, number 15 for departure doesn't mean that's still considered their turn around time. At the last PHL meet Joe Wagner (Wagz) was timing the turn around times. They were 30 minutes, as expected.
 
elwood64151
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Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2002 10:22 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:13 am

Eddie Rickenbacker said years ago, "An aircraft sitting on the ground is an aircraft not making money."

The faster you can turn that plane, the more money you're going to make using it...

Yes, this is a major part of WN's success...
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
InnocuousFox
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RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:21 am

Their "block hours per day" rates are FAR above other airlines. Back when they started, they would do it in 10 or 15 minutes. That expanded to 20. They can still pull off 20 in some stations. A lot of it has to do with the abscence of rectal sticks amongst different types of employees. If it needs to get done, they do it. No "that's not my job" crap.
Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
 
ssides
Posts: 3248
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RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:37 am

Once again, InocuousFox has a great analogy for the unionized attitude that pervades the legacy carriers.

Of course, this attitude isn't solely based on unionism, as WN's crews are heavily unionized.
"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
 
boysteve
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Joined: Sun Apr 25, 2004 7:02 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:46 am

Many LCC's are like this. I have seen Ryanair turn aircraft around many times at DUB in ~25 minutes. A more interesting example is Johore Bahru airport (JHB) in Southern Malaysia. Although a small regional airport it is well equipped with several airbridges that MH's shuttles to/from KUL use. However, the regional LCC Air Asia refuses to use them and pulls up on the tarmac. All pax then have to climb down from the departure hall and walk out to the aircraft in tropical conditions. While not very customer friendly it saves vital minutes as the aircraft doesn't have to line up with an airbridge and the push-back is avoided altogether! My aircraft was only on the ground for 25 minutes and thats from touch-down to take off.
 
AZjetgeek
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Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2004 1:53 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:58 am

WN's turnaround times aren't the only reason for their success. As pointed out by InnocuousFox, WN and its management team have instilled a true "team" approach to running an airline, from top to bottom. There is no "it's not my job" attitude at WN because the employees themselves won't tolerate it.

InnocuousFox also correctly mentioned that WN's block hours are well above the competition. But even this strategy would tend to wear out those 737's faster than most carriers who use them. Nevertheless, WN has a 33-year tradition of cost efficiency that others can only attempt to copy, but will not likely be able to truly duplicate what Southwest has developed.
Long live the RJ!
 
Lono
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RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 3:03 am

InnocuousFox
"rectal sticks".... LMAO...
Maybe that could be a title for a new union position... RS inserter... or RS compliance agent.... RS arbitrator... ha!
Wally Bird Ruled the Skys!
 
wjv04
Posts: 555
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2001 12:18 pm

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 4:21 am

Westjet also has 30min turn times...
It was reported that WestJets shortest turn in 2003 was 6 minutes.

I agree with InnocuonusFox.. for 30mins turn to work you gotta have people who bust there ass out there on the ramp.
 
stirling
Posts: 3896
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 2004 2:00 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 9:23 am

I-Fox:

You're cracking me up! Which is a good thing, haven't laughed out loud all day!
But seriously, I had an opportunity to be in attendance at a function Herb Kelleher spoke at right before his stepping down as CEO.
He outlined a few key elements of the success at WN.
The lack of a "rectal stick", important as it is in keeping WN humming, was a by-product rather than something they set out to accomplish during the early days flying the "Triangle in Texas" DAL-SAT-HOU-DAL".
No one gave WN a chance in hell. In those lean years WN didn't not have the layers of redundancy that other carriers at the time had. Meaning, the lady who just checked in your bags, might be slugging them into the baggage hold, the pilot could be helping the catering guy load up the sodas and so on and so forth. PeopleExpress tried to copy this incidentally and failed.
There was a team spirit from the top to the bottom in the WN organization, they were the underdog, and were all in it together proving the naysayers wrong, and eventually, it paid off.

Incidentally, Herb also alluded to the fact that much of the inspiration for
"Air Southwest", came from PSA-Pacific Southwest Airlines. He mentioned two specific times, he and his partners flew to the West Coast with the sole intent of watching PSA in action. They would spend all day just hanging around the airport seeing how things got done. I can't remember which airport it was, but I'd guess it was LAX, back when it was operated in its original design form.
Delete this User
 
OPNLguy
Posts: 11191
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 1999 11:29 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 9:42 am

I should also point out that another reason for the 10-minute turns of old was that in its very early (unprofitable) years, SWA had 4 737-200s and had to sell one to raise working capital. They did, but re-worked things to operate a 4-aircraft schedule with only 3 aircraft via the use of the shortened 10-minute turn times.

Fastest turn I ever did as an Ops agent (eons ago) was -4- minutes, admittedly on a slow night. Only 36 pax off, 16 on, no wheelchairs, no fuel added (tankered thru), not even a half cart of bags, and no ATC gate holds. The captain barely had time to take a leak...  Big grin
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
JPDX
Posts: 14
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 9:37 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 10:42 am

AS has instituted what it calls TANGO (Turn Aircraft and Go). The days of leisurely boardings is over. The planes are not as clean and boarding is rushed and sometimes downright chaotic...but it gives us the extra time for a few new routes. I'm all for it as long as passengers can deal with it and it helps us return to profitability. But I feel bad for the cleaners...they often get stuck on the plane as passengers start boarding.
 
Dirkou
Topic Author
Posts: 372
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2003 2:57 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 10:51 am

Southwest doesn't have cleaners right? It's the FA's who do that. Can you confirm this?
 
NIKV69
Posts: 14330
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 4:27 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 11:05 am

Yep I think the FA's do it, which is huge for WN, they are not getting paid to do it and it's saving WN mega money.
90 Day Fiancé has taught me that Russian woman are excellent.
 
freshlove1
Posts: 1245
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2004 1:38 pm

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 11:29 am

Must not be saving them that much money considering their costs rose last quarter.
 
txagkuwait
Posts: 1388
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 1999 7:39 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 1:05 pm

>>Incidentally, Herb also alluded to the fact that much of the inspiration for
"Air Southwest", came from PSA-Pacific Southwest Airlines. He mentioned two specific times, he and his partners flew to the West Coast with the sole intent of watching PSA in action. They would spend all day just hanging around the airport seeing how things got done. I can't remember which airport it was, but I'd guess it was LAX, back when it was operated in its original design form.<<

Herb might have gone out to watch PSA, but I have no idea why he would have.

Kelleher was not involved in airline operations in any way, shape, or form for the first 7 years of Southwest's existence.

Even after Lamar Muse lost his power play and got the boot.....Kelleher held the title Chief executive Officer but the airline neamed a different "Chief Operating Officer".

Bottom line is Herb did a lot of things well, but the thing he did best is not tamper with the airline's operations when he ended up in charge.

His background was lawyering.

The people that built Southwest in their early formative years had airline backgrounds.

And if the truth be known.....

Southwest's Director of Flight (later VP-Flight Operations) was a long time American Airlines guy. Lots of folks were surprised that he didn;t take a page from C.R. Smith's book and make the pilots stick a flag on the nose of the aircraft after landing as they taxiied to the terminal (a la AA's
Flagships")

Southwest's Director of Maintenance was a great guy from Braniff. He didn;t like Harding Lawrence, which meant he fit in perfectly at the General Office...the 2nd floor of a hangar at 3300 Love Field Drive.

The original chief of Flight Attendants came from a charter outfit named Purdue Airlines. She also had, in her resume, the fact that she had been responsible for training Hugh Hefner's bunny hostesses that attended his private DC-9.

Southwest's Ground Operations/Reservations/Provisioning was all set up by ex Trans-Texas Airways/Texas International people. They looked at Southwest as the opportunity to do everything with an airline they had always wanted to do, but couldn;t due to stifling CAB regulation.

Were a few things copied from PSA? Sure...the cash register tickets, on board ticketing......most of which quickly fell by the wayside as Texas passengers demanded something different. But most of the manuals came from the individuals in charge of each department, and they all had a flavor based upon where that individual had grown up in the industry.

BTW, it's a long story.....but I am the guy that came up with the idea for the 10 minute turn. Drop me an email and I will give you the real, unvarnished truth sometime. [email protected]
 
PSA53
Posts: 2939
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2003 1:54 pm

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 1:52 pm

I agree! Pacific Southwest was one of the
teacher of WN and LCC's.Forbes magazine noted once
in a story title,"Happiness In Your Own Backyard,"
Talked about PSA's thirty minute turnaround.






Tuesday's Off! Do not disturb.
 
swatpamike
Posts: 469
Joined: Thu May 20, 2004 12:14 pm

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 2:09 pm


Hello

As a WN ramper in TPA I can tell you that 95% of us want that plane to push in 25-30 minutes. Just this week I had a F/O helping load bag on the beltloader, while I was in the bin. These are some of the things that I love about working for Southwest.

Granted there are some at my station that could not give a dam how long it takes to load the plane. It drives my crazy to listen to rampers complain that they have to work 5 hours out of an 8 hour day. Before I got my job at WN I worked it the IT field for 10 years. I complained about have to cram 10 hours worth of work into an 8 hour day. The just don't know how well they have it and probably never will.

cheers

swatpamike
 
yokohama1970
Posts: 196
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2004 3:50 pm

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Thu Jul 22, 2004 3:59 pm

don't forget, southwest airlines takes better care of their employees, than most other airlines. i believe the banner @ the SWA HR building is "our employees are #1." consistent profit sharing throughout the ranks. "spirit week." true, the swa employees work very well together! i observe this on a daily basis, not monday nights on A & E's "airline." the team-work is incredible! and yes, i have seen a few of your SWA pilots' helping out rampers during their pre-departure walk-arounds.

on the flip side..

i have never seen one of our AWA pilots' assist us during a quick turn. we have a monthly $50 on-time performance/customer complaint or MBR incentive. pretty sad, huh!? if awa declares a quartely profit, the non-union employees are eligible for 5% profit-sharing. i have also been guilty of the "not my job/problem!" attitude. we have occassional "cook-outs." they consist of grilled hot-dogs, more of a "wienie roast," not a true cook-out.
we, the employees @ AWA are not the top-priority. our passengers are the top priority.

on-time performance is a lot easier, when you deal with legacy 737's. the next-gen 700's back bin is a few feet higher, though (i worked the CO contract here in PHX 700's, 800's & 900's). in comparison, late-bags or cargo takes an enormous effort with the A319/320 & 757's. latches & outward-opening hydraulic cargo doors. plus, they doors are really far up there! which require a belt-loader. so, in saving money by keeping the 757's around & replacing 737's with A319/320, we deal with in-efficient & time-consuming late bag procedures.

when co-workers try to compare AWA to SWA, i have to chuckle. domestically, SWA operates a highly efficient, on-time and friendly airline. arguments can be made about the lack of food service on SWA. but, none of the US domestic airlines offer food service. yes, they offer "buy on board" options. whether HP, CO, SWA, US, FRNT, JBLU, etc.. you will be given tiny bags of peanuts or pretzels, if you don't "buy on board." at least, SWA generously offers the nabisco snack packs.

IFE (in-flight entertainment), ours (HP) is so archiac! past dvd release hi-8 movies on patially working LCD public-displays is a waste of money. jetblue & frontier have the edge, with the live-tv (directv) on p-tv's. alaskan is renting personal entertainment devices on-board. not sure about the other carries, so let us know what they offer for IFE.

as for "cattle-prod" boarding, all airlines do that! the "open seating" only benefits the first letter called in the boarding area. those passengers always snag the first row of seats anyways.

i believe SWA does a great job of providing on-time, affordable, reliable and friendly air service.

jetblue has excellent service as well. they are my top-choice for on-time, affordable, friendly and innovative air service.

frontier is right behind jetblue. they are very similar.

this just means that we @ AWA have some room for improvement. in time, perhaps? at least the fares are reasonable and we are profitable, despite the competition and extremely high fuel costs.

just my opinion and observations.

tom
Thank You Derek! Good Luck with the LA Dodgers
 
ckfred
Posts: 5200
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2001 12:50 pm

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Fri Jul 23, 2004 3:30 am

I've also noticed watching "Airline" that WN does not hold planes for connecting passengers, unless there is a very large group that would cause a plane to leave half empty.

Most legacy carriers will hold a plane for at least 10-15 passengers, but that's because they have turnaround times of 45-60 minutes. If a plane is 10 minutes out of the gate, it can make up at least 5 minutes at the destination airport. WN's turnarounds are so fast and efficient that it can't make up time on the ground. Hence, fewer gate holds for connecting passengers.
 
contrails
Posts: 1314
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2000 11:53 pm

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Fri Jul 23, 2004 3:41 am

Maybe it's just me, but I flew BWI-MDW-MCI-TUL the other day on WN, and it seemed like they have changed a lot. Many flights were delayed, most by 5 to 15 minutes, but the old Southwest spirit I used to see wasn't there. They did the turnarounds in about 30 minutes, but they didn't seem to be all that motivated. The gate agents were polite, as were the FA's, but again it wasn't like it used to be. I was a bit disappointed.

Just my opinion, but I think they've grown too much too fast.
Flying Colors Forever!
 
airplaneboy
Posts: 793
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 11:59 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:09 pm

At F9, we have 40 minutes. However, we are allowed to push back as much as ten minutes early--- given that all PAX are on board and everything is set. We always strive for those early pushes. At LAX, we like to "hunt" for our PAX who seem to have hit the bar and let them know it's getting close to departure.

It would be awesome to do a ten - twenty minute turn. WN is so efficient! Way to go!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


Travis/LAX
 
lat41
Posts: 674
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 12:23 pm

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Fri Jul 23, 2004 6:27 pm

What happens "inside" the aircraft. Does the trash and debris have a chance to get swept or a quick clean of the floor/seats if needed? It won't take long for even a new aircraft to look beat on the inside if these items become shortcutted
 
goose29
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Jun 19, 2004 3:19 pm

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Sat Jul 24, 2004 12:32 am

Granted there are some at my station that could not give a dam how long it takes to load the plane. It drives my crazy to listen to rampers complain that they have to work 5 hours out of an 8 hour day. Before I got my job at WN I worked it the IT field for 10 years. I complained about have to cram 10 hours worth of work into an 8 hour day. The just don't know how well they have it and probably never will.


That is so funny. I work in CLE and we have the same thing. Before SWA I was in the military working 14 hour days six days a week. Sometimes I just want to slap these people in the head.
 
Av8trxx
Posts: 633
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2001 7:08 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Sat Jul 24, 2004 3:04 am

Southwest doesn't have cleaners right? It's the FA's who do that. Can you confirm this?

We do have cleaners, but only for the terminators at night. On turns, the F/As pick up all the trash and sometimes hokey the floor. However, since the turns are so quick, there is often little time for a stellar job as the next leg pax are boarded as soon as the last flight pax deplane.
 
NIKV69
Posts: 14330
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2004 4:27 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Sat Jul 24, 2004 2:14 pm

Ahhh Freshlove, one of our WN haters,

That may be true about last quarter but WN continues to still lead the industry in many ways. All of them positive. As much as people here want them to go away. The do take great care of their employees and pax while still having the best fares in the business. That is why their ticker symbol is LUV!!

Can you feel the love!  Love
90 Day Fiancé has taught me that Russian woman are excellent.
 
InnocuousFox
Posts: 2556
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2003 1:30 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Sat Jul 24, 2004 2:21 pm

"Must not be saving them that much money considering their costs rose last quarter. "

Whose costs didn't rise last quarter? And since they have been doing this for quite some time, what does a change in last quarter's costs have to do with anything? Gawd, Freshlove1 will piss on anything as long as you tell him it is connected to WN.
Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
 
JFKviaPHX
Posts: 188
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2004 1:31 am

RE: Southwest Aircraft Turn-around Times

Sat Jul 24, 2004 5:29 pm

If the flights are local you can turn them in around 25 mins on average. The biggest factor is the fuel load. A plane can only take fuel as fast as the aircraft will allow. A truck or cart that can pump 600 gallons per minute will only be able to fill a 73* at around 300 gallons per minute when all three tanks are open. When you are nearing the end and only one tank is left you need to add more time. Transcons can take up to 30 mins for fueling alone. This is for 4500 gallons.

BTW if you do it right a 744 taking full fuel (including a full tail) can take as little as 40 mins. There are 9 large valves and two carts pumping at 600+ gallons per minute each. 744 can hold 383,000 lbs of jet-A.

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