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Southwest Airlines Hiring

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Southwest Airlines Hiring

Old 11th Oct 2001, 15:22
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Post Southwest Airlines Hiring

I can't supply the link, but the Business Section of the local fishwrap has a short story that advises Southwest Airlines are having difficulty hiring qualified pilots.

They blame it on the fact that all job seekers assume nobody is hiring. They have plans for expansion that include 11 new aircraft.
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Old 11th Oct 2001, 19:21
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Wow, didn't know that.
Wonder if Southwest makes ya resign, if on furlough from another company, before they hire ya?

Any Southwest folks on the forum?
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Old 11th Oct 2001, 21:36
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Yes, Southwest is hiring at least two class for October and is interviewing. I believe we still require you to resign from your previous airline. We have 5 aircraft on hold at Boeing with a total of 11 deliveries defered. They are waiting to see what we happened with the loads. What I have seen have been coming back. Other airlines are cutting service and we will gain market share and will be ready to expand.
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Old 11th Oct 2001, 21:40
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Try this - No e-mail.
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Old 11th Oct 2001, 22:07
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Southwest is looking to expand, those guys are very good at what they do. They work harder than most of us, but enjoy their jobs more as well.


From today's WSJ:

October 11, 2001

Southwest Again Tries to Spread Its Wings
And Move In on Crippled Rivals' Airspace


DALLAS -- The tireless maverick of the airline industry is poised to pounce again.

Southwest Airlines, which has consistently pursued strategies shunned by competitors in its 30-year history, is once more heading away from the pack. Its actions during the coming weeks could reshape competition in the skies for years.

The terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 shut down all airlines for two days. To stay afloat amid slack demand when they reopened, Southwest's cash-strapped rivals grounded planes and slashed their flight schedules and work forces.

Southwest is keeping all its workers and flying a full schedule. On Sunday, it even went ahead with the previously scheduled opening of a new destination, adding Norfolk, Va., to its routes. Low-fare, low-cost Southwest is the nation's most profitable airline and the only major carrier analysts expect to be profitable this year. It has lots of cash, little debt and a simple strategy. As rivals shrink, Southwest is looking to grab market share -- and maybe even acquire idled airplanes -- betting it can win over customers just as it has done at key moments for the industry during the past 10 years.

"They're doing what they do best, which is to shine in the hours of trouble," says Mo Garfinkle, president of GCW Consulting, an aviation consulting firm in Washington. "This, to me, is not a gamble. This is a very shrewd strategic move."

Even if they are concerned about Southwest's moves, other airlines have said repeatedly during the past few weeks that their focus is on keeping their companies afloat. "The losses we face are truly staggering. They exceed anything we ever imagined at American," said Donald J. Carty, chairman and chief executive of AMR Corp., American Airlines' parent. "Right now, it is survival, not profitability, that is our core challenge."

For consumers, Southwest's strategy could have far-reaching impact, affecting fares and service from short hops to transcontinental routes. It's a strategy likely to appear throughout the struggling economy as strong opportunists move onto the turf of weakened rivals.

Southwest is the nation's seventh-largest airline based on annual revenue passenger miles, or traffic, which is measured as a paying passenger flown one mile. Last year, its share of traffic among the nine major U.S. airlines was 6.6%, while it generated 90% of the country's low-fare competition, according to the Department of Transportation.

It could emerge from the industry's troubles bigger and stronger. It probably will expand into more long-haul markets, even bringing lower business fares to transcontinental service. And after several years of focusing all its growth on the East Coast, Southwest may bulk up on the West Coast as UAL Corp.'s United Airlines shrinks there.

The airline is placing a big bet that the climate for air travel will rebound in the coming months, even as its rivals plan for a long downturn. Although it has a huge war chest of cash on hand, Southwest is bleeding cash to keep flying while others cut back.

The Dallas-based airline started flying in June 1971, focusing on short hauls within Texas. It began interstate flights in 1979 and now serves 58 cities in 30 states, often targeting alternative, less-congested airports. Southwest's profit formula relies on keeping costs low -- it skimps on meals, for instance -- and squeezing the maximum profit out of its aircraft use. It does this mainly by unloading and loading planes in just 20 minutes and focusing on short-haul flights. Both tactics help Southwest get more planes, and passengers, off the ground each day.

In 1990, Southwest rapidly expanded in California when US Airways Group Inc., which had bought Pacific Southwest Airlines, pulled back. In November of that year, Southwest quickly grabbed precious territory in Chicago after Midway Airlines folded. When sagging demand and rising fuel prices forced big airlines to retrench after the Persian Gulf War, Southwest expanded rapidly to fill the void, bulking up in Nashville and San Jose, Calif., after American Airlines closed hubs there, for example. Southwest launched its East Coast campaign in Baltimore in September 1993 when it thought, mistakenly, that US Air was going to close its hub there.

Today, as financially strapped competitors eliminate their least-profitable routes, they are already reducing flights in places where they compete most heavily with Southwest. UAL said it will pull the plug on its Shuttle by United on the West Coast. The service overlaps with Southwest in markets such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles and Oakland. US Air is eliminating its MetroJet subsidiary on the East Coast, which overlaps with Southwest's service in cities such as Providence, R.I., and Baltimore, one of Southwest's fastest-growing cities. US Air is also eliminating 51 of its 75 mainline jet routes from Baltimore, including all nonstop flights to Florida. Delta Air Lines is cutting Delta Express in half. The service overlaps with Southwest in markets such as Orlando and Tampa, Fla., and Hartford, Conn. Altogether, those three operations overlap on about 10% of Southwest's routes.

Southwest itself has put a temporary freeze on growth for the rest of this year and is negotiating with Boeing Co. to defer delivery of 11 new 737 jets scheduled to come off the assembly line by Dec. 31. Southwest has tried to cut costs to ensure that losses in the current climate don't get out of hand, following the example of other airlines by cutting travel-agency commissions to 5% from 8%, for example.

At the same time, as other airlines ground Boeing 737 airplanes, Southwest says it will study whether to grab some of those jets and, perhaps as early as January, resume expansion in its fleet of 358 737s in service. The carrier is now looking at whether to shift flights to add capacity in certain markets, depending on moves competitors make, says Chief Financial Officer Gary Kelly.

"The fact of the matter is we can be patient and we should be patient," Mr. Kelly says. "We're in the mode where we are thinking very tactically."

Southwest has already reduced flights in certain markets to provide for additional service in others, moves it made to satisfy scheduling changes planned before Sept. 11, such as the opening of Norfolk. The airline had expected some of the added flights to be serviced with the Boeing jets it still hasn't taken delivery of.

Despite Southwest's financial muscle, its ambitions involve substantial risks. In 2000, the airline posted its 28th consecutive year of profitability and its ninth consecutive year of increased profits. Net income rose 31.8% from a year earlier to $625.2 million and revenue rose 19.2% to $5.65 billion. It had $1.5 billion in cash on hand early last week, and the lowest debt level by far in the industry.

But to back its bet on a rebound in air travel, Southwest tapped its full $475 million line of credit the day after the attacks. At that time, the company was losing $3 million to $4 million a day. Mr. Kelly says the losses have narrowed since then, but he won't specify by how much.

Southwest is still primarily a short-hop airline. About 85% of its flights are less than two hours, or 750 miles, for example. If security precautions slow travelers down in terminals, driving might prove to be faster than flying for many customers. Southwest has long said its biggest competition was the automobile.

And its gambit comes at a time when the airline was already grappling with a lot of changes. In June, the carrier's chairman and chief executive, Herbert D. Kelleher, stepped down as CEO to assume a more limited role, putting Jim Parker, previously the company lawyer, in the breach as the new CEO.

Mr. Parker took over an airline that was running into many of the same problems afflicting other big carriers: delays and operational snafus, labor strife, escalating costs, higher fares and questions about management.

Some veteran workers had been grumbling about staffing shortages, increased workloads and a breakdown in the company's close-knit, familial culture, which Southwest admitted it was finding harder and harder to maintain as its work force grew. Some employees who in the past agreed to lower wages to help the cause of the underdog had begun to demand "big-airline" pay. Pilots had been gearing up for a showdown. Ramp workers went through federal mediation earlier in the year.

All that has changed since Sept. 11. Workers are pitching in as before with voluntary payroll give-backs and cost-saving ideas. Some are donating a portion of their profit-sharing. Others are signing over federal tax refund checks to the airline.

Management has built up goodwill with unions by avoiding layoffs. Staff shortages that looked like problems in August now seem prudent in the current climate. Moves to revamp operations, adding five minutes here and there to the schedule in order to improve on-time performance, now are paying rich dividends as the airline deals with time-consuming security procedures required at airports.

"What may have seemed like really big issues a month ago maybe aren't quite the big issues now," says Gary Shults, president of the transport workers union local 555, which represents about 5,300 ramp workers and other employees.

Mr. Shults, a 21-year veteran at Southwest, also notes what many airline analysts have recalled: "When it gets bad everywhere else, it's good here."

In the early 1990s, when jet-fuel prices soared and the economy sank into recession, penny-pinching travelers turned to low-fare Southwest, and growth at the carrier continued.

Much of the growth resulted from new opportunities, even in turbulent times. When Midway Airlines announced at midnight on Nov. 13, 1990, that it was out of cash and closing its doors, a Southwest team of lawyers, led by Mr. Parker, was already in place in Chicago. The team was first in line to negotiate to take over Midway's gates at the city's Midway Airport, and a slew of Southwest employees began to immediately install computers, nail Southwest signs over Midway signs and begin operations before any competitors could react. Midway became a key station for Southwest.

Southwest launched a similar blitz when US Air began reducing service on north-south routes in California. Southwest cut fares by two-thirds or more, added numerous flights to the California cities of Oakland, Burbank and Ontario, and eventually became the second-biggest carrier in California behind United.

To thwart Southwest's growth, United launched its low-cost, low-fare shuttle service, mimicking Southwest by flying only Boeing 737s and loading and unloading airplanes in about half the usual time.

Southwest held its own in California, leaving the West Coast saturated with flights from the two airlines. Southwest then turned its attention to beefing up on the East Coast, where incumbents US Air and Delta set up MetroJet and Delta Express as their own shuttlelike Southwest combatants.

Neither has done much to slow Southwest down. In Baltimore, Southwest had outgrown US Air two years before the latter's recently announced service cuts. In Orlando, where Southwest competes with Delta Express, Southwest has 52 daily nonstop flights to 24 cities, up from 12 nonstop daily flights to seven cities in April 1996 when its service began. Delta Express, which had 49 daily flights from Orlando prior to Sept. 11, according to an airport spokeswoman, is reducing that to 21 daily, effective Nov. 1.

Southwest's decision to maintain all service after Sept. 11 isn't entirely bold marketing. The airline's operation is so different from other carriers that it is far more difficult to cut back. Southwest started with one of the simplest schedules to fly in the airline industry: its planes go city to city, without all feeding into one hub and out to spokes all day. Now, with its 358 planes crisscrossing the country on a mishmash of increasing flight paths, Southwest's schedule is one of the most complex in aviation. Making changes is "very, very complicated," Mr. Kelly says, noting that the airline has to carefully match aircraft movements to crew movements.

Jim Wimberly, the airline's executive vice president and chief of operations, has likened adding an airplane to the schedule to a jigsaw puzzle with eight billion pieces. A Southwest plane may start the day in one corner of the country, end up in another, and never fly through the same city twice. Cutting one flight from that schedule can create massive headaches.

Rather than cut back, Southwest decided early after the attacks to keep flying empty seats. To help fill them, Southwest launched a risky ad campaign, becoming the first major airline to advertise while many travelers were staying home. Other carriers were thought to be apprehensive about doing so because of fear of offending or seeming insensitive.

One-way fares as low as $34 helped stimulate leisure traffic, which has been stronger than usual relative to business traffic on the airline, Mr. Kelly says.

He says he is encouraged by the recent rise in bookings and load factors. Southwest filled 38.5% of its seats for the week ended Sept. 23, and 52.4% the following week.

"Bookings over the last couple of days have been higher than normal. So the notion that you would cut flights out of certain markets based on last week would be really flawed," Mr. Kelly said last week.

Joyce Rogge, Southwest's senior vice president of marketing, says the carrier felt it was "very important" to come forward and communicate with its customers and employees to show that "America would fly again."
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Old 11th Oct 2001, 22:53
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In spite of dirty dealings and the like from "the real airlines" in texas back in the old days, Mr H.K has convinced me and I'm sure many others that he's about the only real person airline manager...so there is hope after all...
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Old 11th Oct 2001, 23:47
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Thirty years of profits, never furloughed a pilot (or any other employee for that matter) and steady consistent growth. What the heel kind of a way is that to run an airline?
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