Operations Management at Southwest Airlines

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : OPEA004 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 300;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 300 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges



Case Length : 9 Pages
Period : 2003
Organization : Southwest Airlines
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Not Available
Countries : USA
Industry : Airlines


Southwest Airlines (Southwest) is the fourth largest airline in the USA in terms of domestic customers carried. Southwest has enjoyed the best customer complaint record among all US airlines for the last 12 years. The company has seen 30 straight profitable years. In 2003, Southwest was named by Fortune as one of the most admired companies in the US. Southwest's success is largely due to the way it has managed its operations and cut costs in various ways. These include use of smaller airports, one type of plane, no frills service, point-to-point flights and quick turnaround of aircraft. This case can be used to teach how effective operations management leads to sustainable cost leadership.


Southwest Airlines, Operations Management, Cost Leadership


  Page No.
Introduction 1
Background Note 2
Operations 4
Look Ahead 6
Exhibits 2,6,14,21


Southwest, Quick turnaround, Operations management, Low cost airline, Automated ticketing, Short-haul flight, Point-to-point, Quick boarding, Airlines, Cost leadership, Operations, No-frills service, One type of flight, Low turnaround time

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