23-Mar-2011 1:38 PM

Southwest Airlines to grow fleet 'very modestly' in 2011

Southwest Airlines stated (22-Mar-2011) it expects to grow is fleet "very modestly" in 2011, with CEO Gary Kelly stating the carrier has "a lot of retirements that are contemplated". "We have a lot of moving parts with the AirTran acquisition and the integration of their fleet, so we will continue to have a little bit of a fluid fleet plan. But we ended last year with 548 aircraft. And as we sit today, we have 552, so that's probably where we will end the first quarter," he said. [more]

Southwest Airlines: "Ten years is a long time to wait [for Boeing's new narrowbody product], and I'm just repeating what I've already said and not intending to send out any new news here today. We like the 800 in terms of its size. In our configuration, it's 175-seater. We also like the 700, which will continue to be the dominant mix of our fleet at about 137 seat. So it remains to be seen where the aerospace industry is headed in terms of optimizing the size of the narrowbody aircraft. And we are obviously very interested to see where that settles, in addition to the timetable. So there are lot of unanswered questions, and we are working with Boeing and anxious to have some answers this year," Gary Kelly, CEO. Source: Company Statement, 22-Mar-2011.

Southwest Airlines: "I think what is inevitable is that the next-generation aircraft for Southwest Airlines, no matter the source, may very well be a different airplane, whether it's Boeing, whether it's Airbus, whether it's Bombardier. So I think at some logical point, we will have to deal with that. From an efficiency perspective, as long as we have a sufficient number of units in that sub fleet, we feel like we can operate very efficiently. We don't want eight different airplane, but I think we can handle two or three," Gary Kelly, CEO. Source: Company Statement, 22-Mar-2011.

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