Southwest Airlines’ Culture Drives Profitability and Community Caring

Southwest Airlines’ Culture Drives Profitability and Community Caring

By Debra Benton, Director of Community Relations & Charitable Giving, Southwest Airlines
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 12:10pm



It’s no secret that the last few years have been tough for our company and our industry. We like to think we’ve weathered the storm well, evidenced by our 37 years of profitability even in the face of the worst economic climate our country has seen in recent history.

Last year Southwest lead all domestic carriers (both legacy and low cost), and produced a $143 million profit, excluding special items. Given how sick the economy was, that was a huge victory for us.

At Southwest, the numbers are important, but they don’t tell the whole story. We are proud to say that we did not choose to lay off employees, cut pay rates, or cut benefits. In the words of Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines CEO, “People aren’t an expense – our People are our heart and soul.”

This philosophy is apparent in every aspect of how our company is run including our culture. A big part of that culture is living the Southwest Way.  Read More


The Business Civic Leadership Center is a 501(c)3 affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It is the business community’s voice and resource for social and philanthropic interests. The annual Global Corporate Citizenship Conference exists to promote opportunities for companies of all sizes, all types, to partner with governments and NGOs to advance human and economic progress.