DALLAS, July 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/—Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) announced today its partnership with A&E Network for an all-new, real-life adventure series—a behind the scenes look at the drama surrounding commercial airline travel. A&E Network is currently in production with Granada on ten half-hour episodes of AIRLINE, which is set to debut first quarter 2004, said Robert DeBitetto, Senior Vice President, Programming, A&E Network.
AIRLINE is based on the hit U.K. show of the same name, which has consistently pulled in strong ratings during its six-year run on Britain`s ITV Network.
The A&E Network series will focus on Southwest Airlines, America`s fourth largest carrier, which came up with the concept of low cost, no frills travel. The Company, which has been in business for 32 years, carries 65 million passengers every year and, in an industry struggling to cope post 9/11, is still making a profit.
Los Angeles International (LAX) is just one of the airports that will feature prominently in AIRLINE. Southwest operates 120 flights a day out of LAX, each carrying an average of 130 passengers—a combination that is sure to provide plenty of trials and tribulations.
AIRLINE will not only focus on the highs and lows of passengers who hop on board Southwest flights bound for destinations across the United States. The program also will also follow the airline`s staff and crew, from the high flying pilots through to the check in staff and supervisors who work with Customers day in and day out.
“We`re thrilled to have this unprecedented partnership with Southwest Airlines. The many flights of Southwest Airlines offer the perfect vehicle for a multitude of compelling stories. The pilots, flight attendants, airport employees and others interact every day with hurried executives, crying children, weary travelers and heightened security,” said DeBitetto. “It`s a crazy way of life, and one that is extraordinarily interesting to watch.”
“We`re delighted to be working with A&E and Southwest Airlines to make AIRLINE in the US. We`re particularly pleased that we`ve been able to draw on a production team made up of both British and American talent to make the series,” says Joe Houlihan, Co-Executive Producer, Granada. “AIRLINE has been a phenomenally successful series for ITV and we`re sure American viewers will find the thrills and spills of life behind the scenes of this huge airline fascinating.”
“This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to showcase the customer service passion and vision of our Southwest employees as they serve our valued customers,” said Colleen Barrett, Southwest Airlines` President and Chief Operating Officer. “This is an exciting project that we believe will give an added dimension to our already strong brand in the airline industry.”
AIRLINE will be produced by Granada for A&E Network. Nancy Dubuc is the executive producer for A&E Network. Joe Houlihan and Charles Tremayne are co- executive producers for Granada. Chris Carey is the producer.
Granada USA New York and Granada Entertainment USA are the US based production divisions of Granada plc. In the last 12 months, Granada has been responsible for an estimated 125 hours of drama, 35 hours of factual, 20 hours of entertainment and six-and-a-half hours of children`s programming on U.S. screens.
Southwest Airlines is the nation`s fourth largest carrier with nearly 2,800 daily departures to cities in 30 states. The airline operates a fleet of more than 380 Boeing 737s. The airline`s 35,000+ Employees provide Legendary Customer Service to travelers in 58 cities across the United States.
Nominated for more Emmy Awards in the past two years than any other basic cable network, A&E Network offers a diverse mix of original movies, relevant documentary specials and series, including Biography, dramatic series and contemporary performances. In 2002, A&E Network won six Emmy Awards, including one for BIOGRAPHY as Outstanding Non-Fiction Series (Informational). In 2000, A&E Network was awarded the Governors Award from The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for The BIOGRAPHY Project for Schools. A&E Network is available in more than 85 million Nielsen homes in the United States. The A&E web site is located at www.aetv.com and the BIOGRAPHY web site is located at www.Biography.com .