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In Asia Pacific alone, the industry is seeing a rapid growth in air travel demand. (Kollau, R., 2011) In the western part of the world, Southwest Airlines is one of the leaders in low-cost carriers. (Jones, C., 2012) The company registered a net income of $421 million in 2012 with over 3,000 flights daily. (Southwest, 2013)
With the demand for low-cost air travel increasing, airline companies are coming up with ways to get their share of consumers to stay in business. Although Southwest Airlines is still earning revenue (S.D., 2011), it should not be complacent and should continue to look for ways to keep making income. One method is to acquire a bigger aircraft which could accommodate more passengers but at the same time be cost-efficient.
Comparisons and projections were made between the efficiency of Southwest Airlines’ existing fleet and a new fleet inclusive of the Boeing 737-900ER, by far the biggest aircraft in the series. (Boeing, 2013) Data was gathered from the websites of Boeing and Southwest Airlines.
With the inclusion of AirTran’s planes which Southwest acquired in May 2011, Southwest Airlines had operated 694 Boeing jets by the end of 31 December 2012. (Southwest, 2013) This is equivalent to a combined seating capacity of 94,310. Figure 1 shows the breakdown of airplane type, number of aircrafts per type and the seats per aircraft.
The Boeing 737-900ER replaced the 737-900 between 1997 and 2003. It is the latest model in the 737 series and can carry up to 180 passengers or up to 220 passengers depending on the layout. (Boeing, 2013) Figure 2 shows the additional seating capacity of the Southwest Airlines fleet with the Boeing 737-900ER.
With a significantly lower operating cost, the 737-900ER is capable of going to 96% of the route of an obsolete but popular Boeing model, the 757. (Media, 2013) The newer model has been in demand in the industry ever since its
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