When Southwest launched its first flight nearly 43 years ago, we set out to offer something very different. There were giant competitors, and to get potential Customers to notice, Southwest had to disrupt their thinking about air travel. A new way to fly was born. It was a revolution in commercial aviation. It also was a revolution in how to build a Company—putting People first. The Employees of Southwest Airlines are the secret ingredient in our recipe for success, one that will never be matched. It is because of our People, who have had a brilliant strategy, made smart tactical moves, and steadily, carefully built upon Southwest’s foundation, one year at a time, that Southwest is the most consistently profitable airline in the history of aviation.
Putting People first also means thinking of our Customers. We never forget that Southwest Airlines exists to serve our Customers. Our Purpose is to connect our Customers to important events in their lives with friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel, and our People deliver on that purpose day after day, year after year, making Southwest the largest domestic carrier in the United States in terms of passengers carried.
Our People-first approach is why Southwest has been named to FORTUNE’s 2014 World’s Most Admired Companies list. For the 20th consecutive year, Southwest has made this list, this year ranking number 9 on the prestigious list. I am proud that once again, we are the only commercial airline to make the Top 10. We remain profitable, enabling us to create job security for our People, maintain low fares for our Customers, create returns for our Shareholders, and give back to our Communities. We believe in leading by serving others – each other and our Customers.
To compile the list of most admired companies, FORTUNE asked businesspeople to vote for the companies they admired most. It is quite an honor. There is much to admire about Southwest Airlines, and, for me, what I admire most is the Warrior Spirit, Servant’s Heart, and Fun-LUVing attitude of our Southwest Employees—the very best in the world.
I am so proud of what we have accomplished together. This is my 28th year at Southwest, and I have never had more confidence, more pride, and more enthusiasm for the future. I offer my sincere gratitude and congratulations to the People of Southwest Airlines for making Southwest one of the World’s Most Admired Companies … again!
(Photo by Noel Kleinman/NKPIX)