What company manufactures Southwest Airlines planes?

Air Travel

By Kristy Tolley

Southwest Airlines’ Fleet

Southwest Airlines has been in operation for almost 50 years and has become the world’s largest low-cost carrier. Its fleet consists entirely of Boeing 737 aircraft, making it one of the few airlines with a single type of aircraft. This strategy has allowed Southwest to streamline its operations, reduce maintenance costs, and increase efficiency.

History of Southwest Airlines’ Planes

Southwest Airlines was founded in 1967 and began flying in 1971 with three Boeing 737-200 aircraft. Since then, the airline has added to its fleet, retiring older models and upgrading to newer ones. In 2011, Southwest announced its largest ever aircraft order with Boeing, consisting of 150 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Southwest’s Planes Manufacturers

Southwest Airlines exclusively uses Boeing as its plane manufacturer. Although the airline has considered other manufacturers in the past, it has remained loyal to Boeing. Southwest’s close relationship with Boeing has allowed the airline to work closely with the manufacturer to develop new aircraft designs and technologies.

The Boeing 737: Southwest’s Mainstay

The Boeing 737 has been Southwest’s mainstay aircraft since the airline’s inception. Southwest’s entire fleet is made up of various models of the 737, including the 737-700, 737-800, and the newest addition, the 737 MAX. The airline’s reliance on the 737 has allowed Southwest to reduce costs and improve efficiency by streamlining maintenance and pilot training.

How Many Planes Southwest Airlines Owns

As of August 2021, Southwest Airlines owns and operates 717 aircraft, all of which are Boeing 737s. The airline’s fleet is constantly evolving, with new aircraft deliveries and retirements happening regularly.

Southwest’s Planes: Size & Capacity

Southwest’s fleet is made up of several different models of the Boeing 737, each with varying sizes and capacities. The smallest is the 737-500, which has a seating capacity of 122 passengers, while the largest is the 737-800, which can seat up to 175 passengers. The newest addition to the fleet, the 737 MAX, can seat up to 200 passengers.

Southwest Airlines’ Planes Orders

Southwest Airlines has a history of ordering large numbers of aircraft at once. In 2011, the airline placed an order for 150 Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, the largest single order in the airline’s history. Despite delays and safety concerns with the MAX, Southwest remains committed to its order and expects to take delivery of all 150 aircraft by 2031.

Southwest’s Planes Maintenance & Safety

Southwest Airlines takes maintenance and safety very seriously, with a rigorous maintenance program and a commitment to training its pilots and mechanics. The airline has a team of more than 3,000 mechanics who work around the clock to ensure the safety and reliability of its fleet.

Southwest’s Planes Retirement

As Southwest Airlines continues to upgrade its fleet, older aircraft are retired and replaced with newer models. The airline has retired several models of the 737 over the years, including the 737-200 and the 737-300. In 2020, Southwest announced that it would be retiring its entire fleet of 737-700s by 2025.

Southwest’s Planes & Fuel Efficiency

Southwest Airlines is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and improving fuel efficiency. The airline’s exclusive use of the Boeing 737 has allowed it to optimize its operations and reduce fuel consumption. Additionally, Southwest has invested in new technologies, such as winglets and more efficient engines, to further improve fuel efficiency.

Southwest’s Planes Livery & Design

Southwest Airlines’ planes are easily recognizable by their vibrant colors and unique designs. The airline’s livery features a red, yellow, and blue stripe running down the fuselage, with the Southwest logo prominently displayed on the tail. The airline’s planes also feature fun and whimsical designs, such as the "Shamu" plane featuring a eliminator whale design.

Southwest’s Planes Future Plans

Southwest Airlines has a bright future ahead, with plans to continue expanding its fleet and route network. The airline has several new Boeing 737 MAX aircraft on order and is exploring the possibility of adding other aircraft types to its fleet. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Southwest remains committed to its long-term growth strategy.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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