Southwest Airlines Selects Seat for Future Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX Aircraft
Southwest Airlines® (NYSE: LUV) has selected the Customer seats for its future Boeing 737-800 and 737 MAX aircraft deliveries. The carrier, in partnership with Boeing, will be the first to roll out the new seats, beginning mid-2016, on new deliveries of its Boeing 737-800. B/E Aerospace, who designed and engineered the seats, unveiled the new product today at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany.
In 2011, Southwest Airlines led the industry by announcing it would be the launch customer of Boeing's new 737 MAX aircraft with the first delivery expected in 2017. As the operator of the largest Boeing 737 fleet in the world, Southwest will continue with tradition and lead the industry as the launch customer for the next generation in aircraft seating. A 3D animation and photos of the new seats are available for viewing or download at www.swamedia.com/new-seats.
"The new aircraft seats are the widest economy seats available in the single-aisle 737 market, and offer a unique design that gives our Customers what they asked for: more space," said Bob Jordan, Southwest's Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. "Serving as the launch customer for this seat is just one of several upcoming milestones related to our bold, new look launched in September of last year, and is specifically aimed at enhancing our Customer Experience."
The newly-designed seats, which will be seen on new 737-800s beginning mid-2016 join other significant brand milestones, including cabin interior updates on Southwest's 737-700s which will begin later this year, and continued 737-800 deliveries in the new Heart livery. The industry-leading seats are wider than current seats, and include an adjustable headrest and increased legroom, as well as more personal stowage, while decreasing the overall weight of the product.
"The new, lighter seat allows us to continue to improve our fuel efficiency," said Mike Van de Ven, Southwest's Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. "This seat selection is just one more reason we are enthusiastic about our fleet modernization plans."
The Company's ongoing fleet modernization effort also includes the transition of AirTran's Boeing 717-200 aircraft out of the fleet, the replacement of Boeing Classic aircraft with Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft, and the projected launch of the 737 MAX aircraft in 2017.
When it enters service, the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft—a brand new aircraft—will offer improved fuel efficiency, along with significantly reduced emission levels, and will provide the lowest operating costs among single-aisle aircraft. The seats are the first element of the 737 MAX aircraft interior to be released by Boeing and Southwest to the public. The Southwest seat color—a variant of Southwest’s Bold Blue—has been chosen, and the seats will be upholstered with eLeather, a composition leather made of natural leather fibers. eLeather, which made its debut on Southwest aircraft in 2012, is manufactured using eco-friendly technology including state-of-the-art techniques which closed-loop recycles 95 percent of the processed water, and converts its own waste streams into energy feeding back into the process.
"Working closely with Southwest Airlines, we determined what the customer wanted, and our talented designers and engineers responded to that need," said Mark Vaughan, B/E Aerospace's Vice President, Sales & Marketing. "We're proud to have partnered with Southwest since 1971 to create innovative products that customers will enjoy for years to come."
A 3D animation and photos of the seat are available for viewing or download here, and the airline has activated socially on Facebook and Twitter around the seat selection. Sample seats will be available for Customers and Employees to view later this fall.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Specific forward-looking statements include, without limitation, statements related to (i) the Company's selection of new seats for the new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft and certain 737-800 aircraft, including the timing of the implementation of the new seats, the anticipated benefits associated with the new seats, and the Company's financial expectations with respect to the new seats; (ii) the Company's fleet plans and expectations; and (iii) the Company's financial expectations with respect to the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. These forward-looking statements are based on the Company's current intent, expectations, and projections and are not guarantees of future performance. These statements involve risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other factors that are difficult to predict and that could cause actual results to vary materially from those expressed in or indicated by them. Factors include, among others, (i) changes in demand for the Company's services and other changes in consumer behavior; (ii) the impact of economic conditions, fuel prices, actions of competitors, and other factors beyond the Company's control on the Company's business decisions, plans, and strategies; (iii) the Company's ability to timely and effectively prioritize its strategic initiatives and related expenditures; and (iv) the Company's dependence on third parties.
ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
In its 44th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 46,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest operates more than 3,600 flights a day, serving 94 destinations across the United States and six additional countries. Southwest service to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, begins in June 2015; and subject to government approvals, service to Belize City, Belize begins in October 2015.
Based on the U.S. Department of Transportation's most recent data, Southwest Airlines is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded. The Company operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world, the majority of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi providing gate-to-gate connectivity while over the United States. That connectivity enables Customers to use their personal devices to access streaming music provided by Beats Music or to view video on-demand movies and television shows, as well as nearly 20 channels of free, live TV compliments of our valued Partners. Southwest is the only major U.S. airline to offer bags fly free® (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply) to everyone, and there are never reservation change fees, although fare differences might apply. In 2014, the airline proudly unveiled a bold new look: Heart. The new aircraft livery, airport experience, and logo, showcase the dedication of Southwest Employees to connect Customers with what's important in their lives.
From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel described by the U.S. Department of Transportation as "The Southwest Effect," a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic whenever the carrier enters new markets. With 42 consecutive years of profitability, Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for a triple bottom line approach that contributes to the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities they serve, and an overall commitment to efficiency and the planet. The 2013 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at Southwest.com/citizenship.
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