Southwest Airlines introduced (17-Jan-2012) a new interior to its cabins, dubbed 'Evolve: The New Southwest Interior' with the new interior aimed at providing the opportunity of greater revenue potential by increasing the number of seats on its aircraft from 137 to 143. The carrier will commence retrofitting its current fleet of 372 Boeing 737-700s with the Evolve interior in Mar-2012, anticipating completion in 2013, for a total estimated cost of approximately USD60 million. As integration of AirTran, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southwest, moves forward, Southwest anticipates AirTran's 737-700s and 717s will also be retrofitted with the new cabin interior as those aircraft are converted into the Southwest brand over the coming years. Other Southwest fleet types are still being evaluated for a possible retrofit. [more - original PR]
Southwest Airlines: "We are preparing now for our next 40 years with a fleet modernisation plan that includes the new interior, the Boeing 737-800 which is scheduled to come online beginning in March this year, and the 737 MAX, which is expected to join the Southwest fleet in 2017. The evolutionary changes we're making with the new interior uphold our low-cost roots and historic focus on Customer Service. The cabin upgrade also allows us to create significant revenue opportunities without adding unwanted fees," Bob Jordan, executive VP and CCO.