The research demonstrates the history of Southwest
Airlines, the airline’s fleet and route structure, along with the number of
employees. It determined that the FAA is the government agency that is
responsible for the safety of Southwest’s flight operations. It showed that
Southwest is owned privately and that CAB was the government agency that
regulated the routes and rates of airlines in the United States up until 1978,
where it left the airlines in charge. Southwest has yet to have any fatal
accidents or any actual strikes. However, the maintenance personnel and pilots
of Southwest have both picketed because of the contract disagreements. While
Southwest Airlines prides itself on their customer service, it seems like they
may need to focus on their employees more because employees that are better
cared for are more likely treat their customers at a higher quality.


The labor union that represents the pilots at Southwest
Airlines is the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA). On August 24,
2016, the Southwest pilot conducted picket lines at the Love Field in Dallas
because they have been without a contract also. Both the AMFA and the SWAPA led
their laborers into a picket on May 18, 2016 at the Annual Shareholders’
meeting because of the contract negotiations. 
In November of 2016, the pilots and Southwest Airlines finally came to
an agreement. Within the new contract there is a 15% pay raise effective
immediately and a 3% increase in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. The contract also
states that the “pilots’ retirement plan will now move from a company-matching
contribution to their 401(k) program to a defined contribution plan in which
pilots don’t have to contribute themselves in order to receive the retirement
benefit” (Hethcock, 2016). This contract will be effective until August of

Southwest Airline pilots and maintenance personnel are
both represented by a union labor. The maintenance personnel are represented by
the Aircraft Mechanic Fraternal Association (AMFA). The AMFA has represented
Southwest Airlines since January 27, 2003. On August 16, 2017, the maintenance
personnel of Southwest Airlines conducted a picketing in Chicago, IL and
Phoenix, AZ. The reason for the picketing is that it marks the five-year
anniversary of the AMT contract amendable date. Disagreements over the workers’
pay and the outsourcing of work has led to the union and Southwest to not be
able to come to an agreement. The mechanics at Southwest Airlines have yet to
receive a contract.

Southwest Labor Union

In the last 18 years, there has been a total of two
accidents involving an aircraft operated by Southwest Airlines, none of them
resulting with a fatality on the aircraft. On December 15, 2015, the Southwest
Airlines 737-300 flight 31 arrived in Nashville, TN from Houston, TX as
scheduled. However, as the aircraft arrived, it slid off the taxiway and
collapsed its nose landing gear, landing in a ditch (Southwest
Airlines plane crashes, 2015). The National Transportation Safety Board
(NTSB) determined that the cause of the accident was that the flight crew
turned towards the assigned gate too early because the taxiway lighting was
turn off (Ritcher, 2015). The next accident that has occurred by an aircraft
that was operated by Southwest was on December 8, 2005 flight 1248. The flight,
which was scheduled to fly from Baltimore to Chicago’s Midway Airport, landed
successfully but was unable to stop on the runway. This resulted in the
aircraft “going off the runway, through the airport’s barrier fence and onto a
nearby street” (Southwest Airlines plane crashes, 2015). The aircraft ended up
hitting two vehicles and having the nose wheel collapse. According to the NTSB,
the pilot failed to use the available reverse thrust quickly enough to slow
down the airplane resulting with the accident. Southwest Airlines’ also failed
to provide accurate training concerning the policies and procedures that were
related to the arrival landing distance calculations (NTSB, 2007). One
9-year-old boy who was in one of the vehicles that the aircraft hit, was
killed. While the one child that was killed because of the Southwest aircraft
was very traumatic, Southwest Airlines has yet to have any fatal accidents.

Southwest Accidents

Since the Airline Deregulation Act has been effective,
airlines have overseen the number of routes they want to fly, how much they
charge per flight, and if they want to enter foreign markets. The Act has
allowed more competitive prices within the airline industry so that fares are
more affordable. “In 1996, a report revealed that, on average, airline fares
per passenger mile were 9% lower than they had been in 1979” (Aeronautics
aviation news & media, 2017). Without the Airline Deregulation Act, there
would not be any smaller airlines and Southwest would not be where it is at
today. The prices of airlines would also be higher than they are due to little
competition. There would only be a small number of major airlines within the
U.S., with a smaller amount being able to fly internationally. The Airline
Deregulation Act has significantly changed the airline industry for the better
when it stopped allowing the government have control over it.

1978, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), which is a federal agency in the
United States, regulated what routes airlines could fly, the fares that
airlines could charge for the flights, the schedules that the routes were flown
and which foreign destination the U.S. airlines could fly into (Aeronautics
aviation news & media, 2017). The airlines that the government allowed to
fly were basically a monopoly, driving up prices and not having any
competition. The Airline Deregulation Act changed that though. The Act
prohibited the U.S. government from being able to control the airline fares,
routes or flight schedules.

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