Southwest Airlines, Southwest, Seattle discussed on How I Built This

How I Built This


But were you were you like what are you doing? I mean, I what we work together all these years. And now, you're I mean. No. We bought them later. You bought him later when they're on the verge of bankruptcy. Yeah. We bought news there. But it was there in nineteen Eighty-one. So I figured I'd better do what the board asked me to do. And come to Southwest Airlines fulltime was was what's your lines making money at the time? Yes, we've been profitable every single year for forty three years. I guess now. It must be the other airlines crazy because they were a lot of them have had good years and bad years. But it seems like southwest has just has never had a bad year while we've had years when you know, earnings were down, but we've never had a loss for full year since nineteen seventy two and we've never folow an employee at Southwest Airlines when the rest of the industry during that period up until now as probably thurlowe, I don't know a million and a half employees throughout the world. Basically, we looked at history and said, this is a very dicey business to be in the airline business. Yeah. So we may be flamboyant from the marketing standpoint, but we're going to be very conservative from the fiscal standpoint. And I established a rule of thumb that we're going to pay eighty percent of the cost of all of our new airplanes, internally generated funds and actually. Around up paying one hundred percent for most of our airplanes. So we had the largest percentage in our fleet of owned airplanes of any carrier of any size. So so what does that mean? Well, I mean, you're not taking on that. Right. When you do that. So when you get into bad times, you're not threatened by the debt payments, which is put carriers into bankruptcy out of bankruptcy and back into bankruptcy. You know for thirty five years, you know, her from from outside from listening to stories the airline industry seems so brutal. Is it do you think it's more savage than than other industries? I think that it's more competitive than other industries and one of the reasons for that is that our principal capital assets. The airplanes move at five hundred and forty miles an hour. And you know, if you have a shoe factory that that fails in Seattle as an example, you can't within hours transport that shoe factory to Chattanooga Tennessee to compete there. But if you're Seattle air service fails, you can have your airplanes in San Antonio where Chattanooga within a matter of hours. So the very mobility of your capital assets breeds a lot of competition like that competition. Like did you like being an airline CEO and in managing all that stuff? Was it fun for you? Well, I had to adapt myself. Yeah, I love being with the people that Southwest Airlines that was like a fountain of youth for me. They were so wonderful and entertaining, and you know, great to be with that part of it. But when you're practicing law, you're pretty much do your own thing. And it's a swift pace. Well, things didn't move swiftly at first. When I came to Southwest Airlines fulltime, and I'm we're swiftly compared to the rest of the airline industry..

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