Southwest Flies Alone

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While other U.S. airlines bemoan falling revenues, empty seats, crotchety unions, bad management, etc., etc., Southwest Airlines this week posted its 48th consecutive quarterly profit, and said it's ready to buy 25 more Boeing 737s. The first-quarter earnings of $24 million represent a 14-percent gain over the same period last year. CEO James Parker said Monday in a news release, "Although our revenue outlook remains uncertain, our costs remain under control. As a consequence, and barring any unforeseen event, we expect to be profitable in the second quarter. ... In the course of cautiously growing our fleet, we recently exercised options to acquire four more 737-700s in 2004. This change brings our total firm orders to 25 and options to nine for 2004." (more)Parker went on to credit Southwest's employees for the airline's success. "We have the most dedicated, resilient, and finest group of employees in the airline industry," he said. "Their unity and long-term vision allows us to produce great results in good times so that we can survive even in the worst of times."