Southwest Airlines Case Analysis

Directions for case analysis1. Total length should be between 4-6 pages (11-12 pt size, Times New Roman Font, 1.5 line spacing) with margins on both sides. Annexures, exhibits are not included in the above page limit.2. You may have a short introductory paragraph or two which briefly presents the background of the case. Note however that the case analysis is not about summarizing the case facts. The reviewer has read the case and is aware of case details.3. Then define the problem/issue in the case and lay out the alternatives i.e., the possible options for the organization. This requires thinking.4. Next is the analysis of the case facts. This is the meat of your submission. Wherever possible make use of data to throw light on an issue or bolster your point. Analysis of numeric data and eye for detail is critical.5. Finally, come up with your recommendations/action plan. Your recommendations must flow from your analysis. Avoid generalizations in your recommendations such as give the best quality product at the best price. Pl. proof read your submission for typos and sentence structure. Remember how you say is as important as what you say!

Southwest Airlines Case Analysis Questions


While analyzing the case give attention to the following questions.

  1. How does the company make money when other airlines do not? What are the most important contributors to its financial success?
  2. How should management respond to the fact that SW Airlines has fallen next to last place among major airlines in on time performance as of Sept 2002?
  3. Once operations are stabilized would you recommend to the management that it resumes its historic growth rate of 10 % to 15 % per year? Why? If you recommend resumption of previous growth rates what form should this growth take? For example, should it be achieved within the current network or through an expanded network? By means of a greater proportion of long haul flights (over three hours in length) or not? Why?
  4. If you do not recommend a resumption of previous growth rates, how would you suggest dealing with the consequences of reduced growth?
  5. What are the implications for SW Airlines of the actual or threatened bankruptcies of other major US airlines?

Answer preview

Offering such prices made it easy for the airline to establish its presence within foreign markets in the United States. Management also recognized that offering cheaper flights by itself is not a guarantee that customers would flock to seek their services. In line with this, Southwest Airline embarked on providing customers with an experience they would not get from its competitors. When still in its infancy, the airline’s then-president Lamar Muse came up with a “love” themed marketing strategy to enhance consumer perception of Southwest Airline. By introducing beautiful air hostesses and playing around with captivating names for the extra services offered to passengers onboard Southwest Airline, they were able to capture the attention of many passengers, who might have wanted to get an experience akin to the one showcased in the adverts.

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Southwest Airlines Case Analysis