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What’s a Green Plane, you ask?

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Today is a big day here at Southwest Airlines.  It’s our annual Media Day: we invite our media friends in to learn about new things here at Southwest.  The theme is “Innovation in Aviation,” which is very fitting, because at Southwest, we are all about innovation and have been since our inception.  Innovation isn’t necessarily something you can teach—it really is an attitude, a spirit, a little something extra.  I think we might even hire for it, but here at Southwest, we call it a “Warrior Spirit.”  

So, Media Day is great, but that’s not why I think it is a big day.  It’s a big day to me and a lot of people here at Southwest because we are introducing our “green plane” today.  No, the paint isn’t green, (though there is a decal) and you probably can’t tell much difference on the interior, but our Green Plane is a “test lab” of eco-friendly products that we are evaluating.  What makes this so innovative is that we hope to be able to reduce the weight of the aircraft by up to five pounds per seat, saving fuel and reducing emissions while being good environmental stewards.  Yes, environmental decisions can also make good business sense!  And, we are the first airline to do something like this.  

Southwest has designated one aircraft, WN222, to serve as a test for these eco-friendly products and other future initiatives.  You can read all about the products we are testing in our press release.  We will have all sorts of information onboard about our environmental commitment and fun facts about Southwest.  The Green Plane will take its first flight tonight on a direct flight to Seattle, and will be in regular revenue service so we can evaluate normal wear and durability.  If you’re lucky enough to be on the Green Plane, expect a post-flight survey where we ask what you think and how we are doing.

The Green Plane (and having a future “test lab”) is a dream come true for the Southwest Green Team, and I am so in awe of our Maintenance and Engineering Team for being visionaries.  A huge shout out to our Marketing Team, who is trying to create a more comfortable ride for our Customers and helping us use eco-friendly products to do it.  Be on the lookout for the Green Plane coming to a city near you…

 

 

12 Comments

  1. Bravo for some big steps towards reducing use of fuel and committing to using more eco-friendly materials on the plane. Now, about those plastic drinking cups… Johann wrote: “Southwest is also working on plans to recycle our plastic cups” — OK, that’s better than sending them to a landfill, but why not go further and use cups of a non-plastic, biodegradable material? I work for a corporate law firm and we switched from plastic to corn-based cups about a year ago, so I know that it can be done!

  2. Is it possible for individuals to share green ideas with your appropriate departments?