Southwest tops American in passenger traffic


Southwest tops American in passenger traffic

Discount carrier positioned to unseat reigning American as top U.S. airline
The Associated Press
Updated: 6:32 p.m. CT Aug 16, 2007

WASHINGTON - Southwest Airlines Co. is on pace to unseat American Airlines this year as the world’s biggest airline, measured by passenger traffic.

The domestic-only discount carrier already has eclipsed American’s combined domestic and international traffic during the first five months of 2007, according to a government tally released Thursday.

Southwest carried 40.3 million passengers on domestic routes between January and May, an increase of 4.2 percent from last year.

“We’re thrilled to watch our customer base grow,” said Brandy King, a Southwest spokeswoman, who attributed the growth to the company’s tradition of friendly customer service. “With so many airlines offering low fares, I think customer service makes all the difference in the world.”

American, owned by AMR Corp., carried 40 million passengers during the January-May period, down 1.8 percent from last year’s levels. American’s international traffic for that five month period was 8.7 million, up 0.3 percent in the first five months; its domestic traffic of 31.3 million was down 2.4 percent.

Last year, Dallas-based Southwest was the No. 2 airline worldwide, according to International Air Transport Association passenger traffic statistics. It carried about 96.3 million passengers, ranking behind Fort Worth, Texas-based American, which carried about 100 million passengers.

American, which could not immediately be reached for comment, has been the top U.S. airline for the past five years, according to the Transportation Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

Rounding out the top five were Delta Air Lines Inc., UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and Northwest Airlines Corp.

Overall passenger traffic on U.S. airlines in the first five months of the year was up 1.8 percent from last year, with 307.9 million total passengers.

In May, U.S. airlines carried 64.7 million passengers, up 0.4 percent from the same month last year.

Can’t think of anything 1/2 way clever…


In that case, WN should buy some 757-200s. Wow!


Maybe 1/4 clever??


If only they could expand international. They are in codeshare with ATA though.


If they are going to get larger capacity aircraft, I think the 737-800 would be better. Not quite the capacity of the 757 but has more in common with the current fleet. Also, the 737-900ER would be good. They don’t need the range of the ER but they would have the capacity (189 maximum; in Southwest’s seating, I estimate they would put about 170 seats).


Per Boeing, the -900ER seats 215 in a single class. If Southwest were to operate it, I think they’d install 199 seats.


You’re right. I forget that the -900, even though longer than the -800, seats 189 (same as the -800) when not in ER configuration.

I agree with the seating of 199 if Southwest used it because 200 to 215 seats would require an additional flight attendant.


The best part of it is that they managed to do this while having better on-time stats than any of the other major US carriers (I checked USAirways, United, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, and NWA).

I love flying SouthWest although their new schedules for non-stop flights on my most frequently traveled route just changed and now kinda stink because they jockeyed around the flight times (probably to ensure full flights) so now the most convenient flights no longer exist or are pushed a couple hours from their former times. The times are such that the planes will likely have full capacity which is the worst thing about flying, imho. I HATE having to sit right next to someone although often I am blessed to get a window or aisle seat in one of the few seat triplets with the middle seat empty, even on near capacity flights. :slight_smile: