Southwest Airlines Founder Herb Kelleher Passes Away
Herb Kelleher, co-founder of Southwest Airlines, has died aged 87, the company has revealed in a brief statement.
Launched in 1967, the low-cost US carrier went on to reshape global aviation. Kelleher is survived by his wife Joan and three of their four children. A statement from Southwest Airlines read: “Herb was a pioneer, a maverick, and an innovator.
The airline initially aimed to provide cheap flights between the Texas cities of Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio.
However, it was only permitted to fly following a supreme court of Texas ruling in 1971 striking down challenges from rival operators.
Current Southwest Airlines chief executive, Gary Kelly, said: “Herb was a lifelong mentor and friend, and one of the greatest joys of my life has been working alongside Herb for over 30 years.
Southwest offered cheap tickets in single-class cabins without reserved seats for the first time. These innovations have since became common in the airline industry.
Southwest’s business model also included shortened turnaround times at airports, cabin crew collecting rubbish and high aircraft utilisation.
The carrier has since expanded to become the world’s largest low-cost airline. It currently operates more than 700 Boeing 737 jets.
In peak travel seasons, Southwest operates more than 4,000 weekday departures among a network of 99 destinations in the United States and ten additional countries.