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Southwest Airlines Retires Last of Founding Aircraft

Top executives at Southwest
Airlines today celebrated the retirement of the carrier’s last Boeing
737-200, the aircraft type that the Dallas-based carrier was founded with
33 years ago. Wearing pajamas and robes, Southwest’s chairman, Herb
Kelleher, its CEO, Gary Kelly, and its President, Colleen Barrett, joined
Employees from across its system at an early-morning event to bid adieu to
N95, a 737-200 that is ending a 21-year career at Southwest. One of
Boeing’s newest aircraft, the 737-700, makes up any new delivery to
Southwest’s fleet. “I am quite fond of this aircraft as it is the type we started with and
the one we built our business upon,” Kelleher said. “They are our
red-bellied warbirds. They have consistently and reliably flown millions
of our Customers over billions of miles and have helped us weather the
highs and lows of this very unpredictable industry.”

N95 joined Southwest’s fleet of 45 other aircraft in May 1983. The carrier
served just 22 cities then and served 9.5 million Customers. Southwest now
has a fleet of 419 Boeing 737s, serves 59 cities, and carried more than 65
million Customers last year.

“I hadn’t yet joined Southwest Airlines when N95 was delivered in 1983,”
said now CEO Gary Kelly, “but this Company has accomplished great things
during its valiant career. As we move boldly into the future, it is
important that we remember our roots and celebrate our milestones.”

The event at Southwest’s Dallas Maintenance Center was launched with the
arrival of 95 Southwest Employees who were selected from more than 1,000
entries received to be onboard N95’s last official flight. Dressed in
limited-edition Southwest Airlines pajamas, the 95 Employees joined
hundreds of other pajama-clad Employees who were awaiting their return.
Barrett, Kelleher, and Kelly spoke to the crowd about the contribution of
aircraft like N95 to the founding and current success of Southwest

“The 21-year career of this aircraft is the stuff that dreams are made of
... the dreams on which our future will be built,” Kelleher told the crowd
in the form of a toast to the retiring aircraft. “To N95, and to you, the
People of Southwest Airlines, who have made all of my dreams come true. I
salute you!”


Once the paperwork is complete, Southwest will sell N95 to an outside
asset company.

Some interesting facts about 21-year career of Aircraft N95: * Has flown
approximately 7600 days * Total projected aircraft hours at retirement:
67,402 * Total projected cycles (takeoffs and landings): 73,922 * Flew
38,846,919 miles (to the moon and back 81 times) * Gave out 5,210,568 bags
of peanuts and flew as many passengers as the entire population of both
Los Angeles and Phoenix combined.

Additional elements of today’s Employee event included free coffee from
Starbucks, the chance to win one of 200 two-night hotel stays in
California, Florida, and Texas donated by the Hilton family of hotels, and
a chance to win one of three banks of aircraft seats from N95. JC Penney
and Spring Industries, Inc. donated pillowcases for the special event.