24 AUGUST 2009


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Article from BTNews 24 AUGUST 2009

Southwest could go international

SOUTHWEST (SWA), the carrier credited with starting the low cost/budget airline business in 1971, and is the largest airline in the world by number of passengers carried, could be venturing into international routes by 2011.  In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, CEO Gary Kelly, successor to SWA’s legendary long time leader Herb Kelleher, said there are plenty of markets to which the airline can expand (it currently serves 67).  "If you're just talking about the domestic US, I think there are a dozen [potential expansion cities]," he said.  "If you add international markets, there are dozens.  The 737 can do Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean.  We're seriously considering that.  2011 [would be] the earliest that we'd be flying international metal."  Most places would be within two hours flying time of SWA hubs.  SWA currently has a fleet of around 550 Boeing 737. www.southwest.com

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