16 April 2009

Southwest Sounding Like A Legacy Carrier

Southwest - now the largest airline by passengers numbers - is sounding like a regular legacy carrier. It has just announced a consecutive quarterly loss. That hasn't happened in well almost forever.

But WN is no ordinary airline.

They do things better, faster, simpler and more profitably (generally) than the other guys. Their secret sauce has been much studied. Now they are going to have to be just like - well any other airline. Cutting back hiring, offering early retirement - volunteer time off etc etc.

I noted 2 years ago that you actually had people retiring from WN after more than 30 years. Since the airline has been in business for 37 years this is understandable.

So some of the fun and spunk has gone. Herb has left the building. But I would still bet money on WN ahead of the other guys. Maybe just not quite as much as I used to.

Look on the bright side. Their performance was not as bad as China Southern who lost money at the rate of about $150,000 an hour last year.


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