Southwest finds room for more seats

Jan. 19, 2012 at 2:53 PM   |   Comments

DALLAS, Jan. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. discount airline Southwest is adding lighter seats to its planes that will save money and, in hindsight, provide new revenue, an executive said.

The airline said an interior overhaul including seats 6 pounds lighter than the old seats for 372 Boeing 737-300 planes in its fleet and to AirTran's 737-700s and 717s will save $10 million a year in fuel costs, USA Today reported Thursday.

After choosing the new interiors for the $60 million project, Southwest then realized it could add six new seats to most of its planes, affording the airline "a lot of revenue opportunities," Chief Commercial Officer Bob Jordan said.

The seats, which are also thinner than Southwest's current seats, will not "sacrifice comfort," Jordan said. In essence, however, he said, the additional 2,232 new seats will be "like getting 16 new planes for free," Jordan said.

"To pick up that many seats, we would have to purchase 16 new aircraft, which is about $600 million," he said.

Jordan said, "To be clear, it was never our objective to add a row of seats, and the extra row isn't the main reason for this redesign.

"Once we examined how much space would be saved, it was determined we could accommodate the increase, without sacrificing comfort," he said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Recommended UPI Stories
Featured UPI Collection
2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

2014: The Year in Music [PHOTOS]

Most Popular
Only 1 in 5 insurers cover volcanic ash
Twinkies' Chicago facility to close
Corona Extra recalled due to glass particles in beer
GenDyn to study new guidance system for ICBMs
Damen, Astinave in patrol boat deal
Trending News