1979 to 1981


More Than Texas



January 09, 1979

Southwest announces that it is advancing the startup date of service between Beaumont/Port Arthur/Orange and DAL, AMA, LBB, MAF and ELP by almost 60 days to Monday, March 5, 1979.

January 23, 1979

Application is filed with the Civil Aeronautics Board seeking automatic entry authority to serve DAL-MSY under provisions of the 1978 Deregulation Act.

January 23, 1979

Southwest Board of Directors declares a 3-for-2 stock split of the Company's common stock to be distributed on February 23, 1979 to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 9, 1979. The stock split will result in an additional 1,500,000 shares of the Company's common stock issued. The Board also declared a quarterly cash dividend of $ .07 per share to be paid on March 23, 1979 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 9, 1979.

January 25, 1979

MSY service begins with one daily HOU roundtrip. This marks our first scheduled interstate flight, the first time Southwest flies outside the State of Texas.

February 08, 1979

Southwest takes delivery of the 14th 737-200 Advanced Boeing aircraft.

February 12, 1979

A new type of denied boarding compensation program is introduced on an experimental basis between February 12, and March 31. Should a confirmed passenger on the Houston/New Orleans segment not have a seat on Southwest Airlines' 737, Southwest will pay that passenger $737.

February 12, 1979

Southwest increases to seven the number of weekday roundtrip flights between HOU and MSY with six roundtrip flights on Saturday and five roundtrip flights on Sunday

March 05, 1979

Service begins from Jefferson County Airport (Beaumont/Port Arthur/Orange – BPT) to DAL with four nonstop flights each business day. Continuing and connecting service offered to MAF, LBB, ELP, and AMA. Service from BPT ends on Sept. 5, 1980.

April 05, 1979

During the first quarter 1979, Southwest boarded 1,038,657 passengers, establishing a new quarterly boarding record of over one million passengers boarded during a single quarter.

April 24, 1979

At their annual meeting, shareholders of Southwest re-elect all seven incumbent directors and add a new director, Howard D. Putnam. Shareholders approve three amendments to the Company's profitsharing plan and adopt a charter amendment increasing authorized Common Stock 5,000,000 to 15,000,000 shares.

April 25, 1979

Southwest takes delivery of the 15th 737-200 Advanced Boeing aircraft.

May 01, 1979

Southwest places the 15th 737-200 Advanced Boeing aircraft into service.

May 25, 1979

Southwest records its largest single day in passenger boardings when it carries 17,928 passengers.

June 01, 1979

Southwest increases service between DAL-HOU by five roundtrip flights, Monday through Friday; adds nonstop MAF-AUS service; expands flights between the HRL and its other markets.

June 18, 1979

Eight Anniversary

July 01, 1979

Records established in passengers carried for both the month of June, 1979, when it boarded 461,800 passengers, the largest passenger traffic month in Southwest's history, and for the quarter when Southwest again exceeded one million passengers carried with 1,290,487 passengers boarded systemwide.

August 01, 1979

The Corporate Headquarters move from 1820 Regal Row to 8008 Aviation Place is complete.

August 01, 1979

Revenue passenger miles increased 59% in July 1979 to a new high of 154.8 million, passengers carried increased 49% to 480,730 setting a record, and load factor for the month was 75.8%. ASMs were up 55%.

August 28, 1979

Southwest Board of Directors in its regular bimonthly meeting declares a dividend of $.07 per share on the Company's Common Stock, its twelfth consecutive dividend payable on September 25, 1979 to shareholders of record on September 11, 1979.

August 30, 1979

Southwest introduces Cubic-Western Data self-ticketing machines in all cities. By swiping their credit card in the machine, Customers are able to buy a ticket and go directly to the gate.

September 01, 1979

Travelers greeted by new look of love with the introduction of new Customer Service Agent and Operations Agent uniforms. The new uniforms feature a red blazer, vest and skirt, or tailored hot pants with blazer.

September 28, 1979

The Civil Aeronautics Board grants Southwest's application for DAL-MSY automatic entry route. Southwest inaugurates service with three roundtrip flights weekdays.

October 01, 1979

Announcement made that during the first quarter of 1980 Southwest will open a 25,000 square foot Consolidated Reservations Center in SAT at a location west of IH-10 on Medical Drive.

October 08, 1979

Two related transactions are finalized by Southwest which provide long-term financing for aircraft acquisitions and general working capital purposes.

October 16, 1979

Southwest third quarter earnings reflect 33% increase in operating profit. Net earnings reach $1.09 per share.

October 22, 1979

Board of Directors declares a dividend of $.07 per share on the Company's common stock, the Company's thirteenth consecutive, payable on December 18, 1979 to shareholders of record on December 4, 1979.

October 23, 1979

Southwest takes delivery of the 16th 737-200 Advanced Boeing aircraft.

October 24, 1979

Southwest places the 16th 737-200 Advanced Boeing aircraft into service.

November 05, 1979

For the first time in Southwest history, HOU boarded more than one million passengers in an annual period by having boarded 1,010,061 passengers for the first ten months of 1979.

November 07, 1979

Southwest increases service between DAL-MSY, HOU-MSY, DAL-HOU, ELP-MAF, HOU-SAT, CRP-HOU, and nonstop service DAL-AUS with the addition of three -200s, bringing the fleet total to 18 -200's.

November 30, 1979

The conversion of Southwest's aircraft from 112 to 118 seats is complete while still maintaining our popular lounge seating.

December 05, 1979

Southwest revenue passenger miles increased 60% during November 1979 to approximately 141.8 million RPM's compared to 88.4 million RPM's during the same month of 1978. Passenger boardings for November were up 46% from the same month a year ago.

December 07, 1979

Southwest saves 1,503,975 gallons of jet fuel between December 10 and March 1 by canceling 10% of its weekly departures. This places Southwest schedule at its pre-November 1979 level when additional flights were added.

December 12, 1979

A United States Senate and House Conference Committee unanimously approve a compromise amendment which authorizes limited interstate service from Love Field. The Amendment would allow interstate service from Love Field to contiguous states. The Amendment must go to the Full House and Senate for approval. The Amendment, known as the Wright Amendment, is later approved.

December 28, 1979

Southwest files with CAB on December 27, 1979 for a fare increase of approximately 10.8% to be effective as early as January 8, 1980. Cost of fuel soared 95% since the beginning of 1979.

December 31, 1979

1979 Milestones Revenue passengers: 5,000,086 Trips flown: 75,837 Fleet: 18 aircraft Employees at yearend: 1,630 Cities opened: MSY, BPT Flew first interstate flight (MSY) in January

December 31, 1979

Yearend passengers carried totaled 5,000,086 -- up 42% over the 3,528,105 passengers carried in 1978. Average load factor for 1979 was 68.33%, up from 67.38% in 1978.


January 10, 1980

Southwest returns the Boeing 727-200 aircraft that was under lease from Braniff International.

January 13, 1980

Southwest continues operations even though it was struck January 13 by the International Association of Machinists. The Company operated 12 of its 18 -200 aircraft. A total of 901 weekly departures were still offered.

January 18, 1980

Southwest is informed that the International Association of Machinists voted to accept the last offer the Company made on January 10, 1980 prior to the strike. Southwest resumes normal operation February 1.

January 30, 1980

Southwest announces that it selected DAL-TUL as its 1980 Automatic Market Entry route and filed with the CAB for DAL-OKC and DAL-ABQ route authority.

February 08, 1980

Southwest announces plans to start service to OKC April 1; TUL April 2; and ABQ April 3.

February 26, 1980

Southwest Board of Directors increases the quarterly dividend to $.08 per share on the 4,566,500 issued and outstanding shares. The cash dividend will be paid on March 28, 1980 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 8, 1980.

March 28, 1980

Southwest files with the CAB a Travel Agency Net Discount Program, which features the pre-purchase of ticket books by travel agents at the 10% discount. To be called "Ticknet".

April 01, 1980

Southwest inaugurates service to OKC with seven roundtrips weekdays.

April 02, 1980

Southwest inaugurates service to TUL with seven roundtrips weekdays.

April 03, 1980

Southwest inaugurates service to ABQ with three roundtrips weekdays.

April 07, 1980

For the first quarter of 1980 , Southwest flew 383.8 million RPMs, an increase of 20.8% over the previous first quarter of 1979, and carried 1,189,745 passengers for the first quarter of 1980, a 14.5% increase compared to the same period of 1979.

April 22, 1980

At their annual meeting, shareholders re-elect all seven incumbent members of the Company's Board of Directors. Board of Directors declares, for the second consecutive quarter, a dividend of $.08 per share of the Company's common stock payable on June 26, 1980 to shareholders of record on June 12, 1980.

May 05, 1980

Southwest announces the highest passenger traffic in its history with a 22.8% increase to 498,083 passengers in April 1980, compared to 405,664 passenger in April 1979.

June 04, 1980

Monthly passenger boardings for May, which exceeded 500,000 for the first time in Company history, were 545,858.

June 18, 1980

Ninth Anniversary. Southwest defers its scheduled July fare increase again and pledges to hold fares at their current level as long as possible.

June 24, 1980

Southwest Board of Directors approves the purchase of three new -200 aircraft to be delivered during the first quarter of 1982.

July 03, 1980

Southwest achieves record passenger traffic levels for the month of June 1980 and for the second quarter with passenger boardings of 55,364 for June and 1,595,305 passengers for the quarter.

July 16, 1980

Southwest inaugurates nonstop ELP-ABQ service with three roundtrip flights each weekday and two roundtrip flights on both Saturday and Sunday.

July 22, 1980

Southwest second quarter net income increases 91%; six months earnings up 63%.

August 26, 1980

Board of Directors declares a 3-for-2 stock split to be distributed on September 22, 1980 to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 8, 1980. This split increases the number of outstanding shares from 4,566,500 to 6,849,750 shares.

September 05, 1980

Service terminates at Beaumont/Port Arthur/Orange (BPT) for economic reasons.

September 08, 1980

Southwest reinstates DAL-IAH service with seven roundtrips weekdays. In conjunction with the reopening, Southwest offers its $24 Pleasure Class fare on all 118 seats between DAL-IAH for 30 days. Complimentary cocktails are offered, as well as inflight contests on selected flights. Service from IAH ends on Apr. 2, 2005.

September 12, 1980

Southwest announces filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission a Registration Statement relating to the proposed public offering of 600,000 shares of common stock. This will increase Southwest outstanding stock from 6,861,000 to 7,461,000 shares after giving effect to the 3-for-2 stock split previously announced. Net proceeds from the offering will be added to the Company's working capital and used to acquire -200 aircraft, which are scheduled for delivery in December 1980.

October 01, 1980

Flight Attendants receive a new uniform featuring a brown suit jacket, cream blouse, and a "V" neck sweater as well as a logo scarf complimenting the outfit.

October 02, 1980

Southwest introduces new flight schedule offering more service between IAH-DAL and direct service between ABQ-IAH and ELP-SAT.

October 06, 1980

Southwest achieved record traffic levels for September 1980 and for the third quarter with passenger boardings of 500,884 during September and 1,642,449 for the quarter.

October 27, 1980

Board of Directors confirms orders for three additional -200 aircraft, placed deposits for six additional 737's, declared a fourth quarter dividend and will take delivery of a total of nine more 737's by 1983.

November 05, 1980

Southwest extends its $24 Pleasure class fare between DAL-IAH through January 4. Southwest announces it will present a check to the mayors and city councils of SAT, DAL, and HOU representing $1 for every passenger boarded on the DAL-HOU route between November 8 and January 4 to celebrate the tenth Christmas of service by Southwest.

November 06, 1980

Southwest recorded passenger traffic levels for October 1980 with boardings of 547,868, an increase of 25% over October 1979.

November 07, 1980

Southwest will inaugurate HOU-TUL nonstop service with three roundtrip flights beginning Thursday, December 4, 1980. Southwest will inaugurate OKC-HOU nonstop service with three roundtrip flights beginning Thursday, December 18.

December 03, 1980

Southwest christens our 22nd aircraft, The Rollin W. King. This is the first 737 to be completely owned by Southwest.

December 08, 1980

Southwest continued to achieve record breaking passenger traffic levels during November 1980, with boardings of 494,690 an increase of 12% over November 1979.

December 30, 1980

Southwest files with the CAB for overall fare increase of approximately 8.4% to be effective January 12, 1981. This is the first increase in over a year.

December 31, 1980

1980 Milestones Revenue passengers: 5,976,621 Trips flown: 91,143 Fleet: 23 aircraft Employees at yearend: 1,839 Cities opened: OKC, TUL, ABQ, IAH

December 31, 1980

Southwest achieved record traffic statistics for 1980 reflecting a 28% increase in revenue passenger miles and a 20% increase in passenger boardings to 5,976,621 compared to 1979 results. The load factor for the year was 68.16%.


January 01, 1981

Houston (Hobby) Provisioning opens.

January 12, 1981

Southwest announces agreement with Trans European Airways to lease a Boeing 737-200 for a period of up to 26 months beginning March 1, 1981.

January 23, 1981

Southwest takes delivery of it 24th aircraft. This aircraft is christened The Donald G. Ogden after retiring Vice President Flight Operations Donald G. Ogden.

February 04, 1981

San Antonio Reservations Center (SRC) opens and becomes our second Reservations Center.

February 24, 1981

Board of Directors declares a dividend of $.08 per share on the Company's common stock. This dividend, the Company's eighteenth consecutive, is payable on March 31, 1981 to shareholders of record on March 16, 1981.

March 18, 1981

Southwest advises the Boeing Company of Seattle that it would be interested in pursuing an agreement to purchase ten Boeing -300s and to take options on ten more if Boeing decides to build the new aircraft. Southwest understands deliveries would begin in 1984. In 1980, the base purchase price would be $16.2 million.

April 06, 1981

For the first quarter of 1981, RPMs were up 41% to 539.7 million. ASMs for the quarter increased 40% to 840 million. Passengers carried increased 35% to 1,600,427. Load factor for the quarter was 64.25%, up from 63.86%.

April 15, 1981

The public offering of 750,000 shares of Southwest common stock as a price of $53 1/8 per share is announced by the First Boston Corporation, manager of the underwriting syndicate. Net proceeds will be used to acquire six new -200s scheduled for delivery between December 1981 and May 1982.

April 28, 1981

Board of Directors approves the purchase of five additional -200s. The Board of Directors also declares a dividend of $.08 per share on the Company's common stock. This dividend, the Company's nineteenth consecutive quarterly dividend, is payable on June 30, 1981. Shareholders re-elect all seven incumbent members of the Company's Board of Directors.

May 15, 1981

Southwest increases its summer schedule by 18% over its July 16, 1980 schedule. Weekly departures will increase to 2,256 flights making 266,208 seats available systemwide.

June 18, 1981

Tenth Anniversary. In a special ceremony, aircraft N68 is christened The Winning Spirit and dedicated to our original Employees.

June 23, 1981

With the approval of the Board of Directors, Southwest signs contracts with The Boeing Company of Seattle for the purchase of ten 737-300 aircraft and options on ten more. In 1980 dollars, the base price of a Boeing 737-300 is $16.2 million. Southwest will operate the aircraft with 142 seats.

July 07, 1981

For the second quarter of 1981, RPMs were up 12% to 160.2 million, ASMs increased 20% to 939.7 million, passengers carried increased 13% to 1,810,101 and load factor for the quarter was 64.94%.

July 28, 1981

Southwest's second quarter results set new second quarter operating and financial records. Operating expenses increased 36%. As a result operating income increased 4% and net income increased 28%.

August 05, 1981

Highest passenger boardings in Company history recorded for July 1981, boarding 630,177 passengers. This was a 10% increase over July 1980.

August 25, 1981

"Loving You Is What We Do" is the theme of a multi-media advertising campaign launching Southwest's second decade of service. Board of Directors declares a 5-for-4 stock split to be distributed on October 23, 1981 to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 28, 1981. The Board also declare the Company's regular quarterly dividend of $.08 per share on 8,326,000 shares currently issued and outstanding.

September 03, 1981

Southwest passenger traffic during the month of August set an all-time high for the month. Southwest flew 205 million RPM's, an increase of 3.7% over August 1980. Passenger boardings increased 2.8% to 586,307.

September 09, 1981

Southwest increases HOU service, adds five roundtrips between HOU-MSY, expands DAL service, and retains 98% of current schedule for fall 1981.

September 22, 1981

Howard D. Putnam, President of Southwest announces his resignation to become President and COO of Braniff International. Also resigning to join Putnam at Braniff is Philip Guthrie, Southwest Vice President Finance. The Board of Directors asks Herb to serve as acting President and CEO, in addition to Chairman of the Board.

October 09, 1981

Southwest retains GSD&M, one of the most successful full service advertising, marketing, and public relations firms in Texas, to handle its account. The Bloom Agency resigned to handle Braniff's account.

December 07, 1981

"Pick-a-Pack" books of discount tickets introduced during the Christmas holidays. Individual purchases of the books realize a 16 percent savings in the form of bonus tickets.

December 31, 1981

1981 Milestones Revenue passengers: 6,792,927 Trips flown: 110,301 Fleet: 27 aircraft Employees at yearend: 2,129 Load Factor: 63.58%

Please visit our Investor Relations website at www.southwestairlinesinvestorrelations.com/ for all year end financial summaries

Stay Connected

Media Info

Phone 214-792-4847, Opt. 1

Email swamedia@wnco.com

More Press Contacts