SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente, Xenia von Wedel

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Southwest Airlines Names Senior Vice President of Labor Relations

VETERAN PILOT AND INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNIZED EXPERT IN AVIATION AND LABOR RELATIONS RANDY BABBITT JOINS CARRIER'S EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP TEAM

DALLAS, Oct. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) proudly welcomes J. Randolph "Randy" Babbitt as Senior Vice President of Labor Relations to direct and oversee the carrier's labor related activities.  Babbitt will report directly to Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven and have responsibility for all negotiation, communication, and ongoing relationships between the Company and the eleven organizations that represent 87 percent of Southwest Employees.

"For more than 40 years, Southwest has thrived because of our regard for labor organizations as partners," Van de Ven said.  "Randy's unique skills and experience at various levels in our industry can only strengthen those partnerships to ensure our Employees continue to play an important role in Southwest's success."

Mike Ryan, Southwest's Vice President of Labor Relations, and the Labor Relations Team will report to Babbitt.

Babbitt began his aviation career as a pilot, flying 25 years for Eastern Airlines. A skilled negotiator, he served as President and CEO for US ALPA, the world's largest professional organization of airline pilots. While at ALPA, he championed the "One Level of Safety" initiative implemented in 1995 to improve safety standards across the industry. He also promoted the international expansion of ALPA through a merger with the Canadian Air Line Pilots Association in 1997.

Babbitt later served as the FAA's sixteenth administrator from June 2009 through December 2011 after more than eight years on the agency's Management Advisory Council providing guidance to other Administrators on a range of topics ranging from air traffic modernization to regulatory policy and safety oversight within the airline industry and the FAA. He was recognized by Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine with the Laurels Award for outstanding achievement in the Commercial Air Transport category.

Visit swamedia.com for photos of Randy Babbitt and additional biographical information.

ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
In its 42nd year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other low-fare carriers by providing a reliable product and exemplary Customer Service delivered by 46,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers every year.  Including wholly owned subsidiary AirTran Airways, the Company operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 97 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and six near-international countries. Visit southwest.com/citizenship to read the Southwest Airlines One Report™ and see how Southwest is doing its part to be a good citizen while underscoring a commitment to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet.

Southwest Airlines
From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel quantified by the US Department of Transportation as "The Southwest Effect," observable improvement in service and a lowering of fares wherever the carrier serves. Southwest now flies the most passengers nonstop of any US airline and stands alone among major air carriers in offering all Customers the first two pieces of checked luggage (weight and size limitations apply) and all ticket changes without additional fees.  On every flight, Southwest Airlines consistently offers leather seating and the comfort of full-size cabins across the world's largest fleet of Boeing 737 aircraft, many of which are being equipped with satellite-based WiFi connectivity and a new, eco-friendly cabin interior featuring sustainable materials. Having achieved a 39th consecutive year of profitability, the People of Southwest operate more than 3,200 flights a day and serve communities around 77 airports in Southwest's network of domestic destinations.  Southwest Airlines' frequent flights and low fares are available only at southwest.com.

AirTran Airways
AirTran Airways, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwest Airlines Co., has been ranked top airline in the Airline Quality Rating study three times in the past five years. AirTran offers coast-to-coast and near-international service with nearly 600 flights a day to 56 destinations.  The carrier's low-cost, high-quality product includes assigned seating and Business Class. As Southwest continues to integrate AirTran's People, places, and planes into Southwest Airlines, Customers of both carriers may book flights at airtran.com and exchange earned loyalty points between both AirTran's A+ Rewards® and Southwest's Rapid Rewards® for reward travel on either airline.

SOURCE Southwest Airlines

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