Southwest Airlines

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Southwest in Baltimore case questions:

Issue at Hand: Baltimore is one of the eight mega stations for Southwest Airlines. The airline plans to expand operations there, rapidly. But the operational performance at Baltimore station is lagging behind the system-wide average of the airline. The challenge is to overcome this impediment so that the station can accommodate additional growth as planned.

1. How does Southwest airlines (SWA) compete? What are its advantages to other airlines?

Southwest Airlines is a marketing driven company. It views cars and busses as its main competition. They use less congestive airports that provide easy access to metropolitan areas. A focus on hiring and controls is implemented. Only one operating platform, the Boeing 737, is used. Costs are cut though limited flight services being offered. A chief focus for Southwest is providing quick turnaround, directing traffic swiftly through the gates. They have a commitment to offering cheap fares and frequent flights. Employees are given the freedom to make decisions, keeping a focus on customer service at all times. Employees are cross-trained, and encouraged to change jobs within the company.

Advantages Southwest Airlines has are lower costs, quicker turn-around, open and single class seating. The work environment is fun –filled with a focus on family and team and service orientation. Each agent is assigned only one flight, allowing the agent to give complete focus to ensuring the success of this flight.

2. The plane turnaround process requires coordination among twelve functional groups at SWA to service, in a brief period of time, an incoming plane and match it up with its new passengers and baggage for a prompt departure. Please evaluate the plane turnaround process at Baltimore – resource utilization, capacity, bottlenecks, information flows, etc. How is the process…...

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