David Vogin

Advice

My Toughest Challenge: Tammy Romo

The executive vice president and chief financial officer of Southwest Airlines talks about the changes the company made after 9/11.

Overcoming Difficulties Related to 9/11

“The time following 9/11 was difficult for the entire airline industry, and particularly difficult for Southwest because we had such a focus on short-haul traffic. Increased security measures were literally instituted overnight and at the same time fuel prices soared, which had a disproportionate impact on short haul-traffic. When fares get too high for short haul travel, [customers] have other options. The whole industry was in turmoil, and most [companies] cut costs by filing for bankruptcy. Southwest did it the good old-fashioned way. We rolled up our sleeves and came up with a bold strategic plan. We knew we had to make some transformational changes to our business model. We acquired AirTran, modernized our fleet, revamped our frequent-flyer plan, and replaced our legacy reservation system. This was a multiyear effort, and 2017 has been a significant year for completing these major transformative efforts.”  

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