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Southwest Airlines And Denver International Airport Continue Next Generation Focus

Airline Attributes Program Success to Partnerships with Denver ARTCC, Denver TRACON, Denver ATCT, and the Denver International Airport

DALLAS, March 25, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) is flying fuel efficient and environmentally friendly Required Navigational Performance (RNP) approaches at Denver International Airport (DIA).  RNP approaches can reduce flying by 3-5 miles during a visual approach and up to 20 miles during an instrument approach each time they are flown at DIA.  These flights follow highly predictable paths and allow descents at idle power from high altitude cruise, which is the quietest and most fuel efficient way for an aircraft to arrive. Working closely with local and regional FAA and DIA officials, major contributions have been made to the development of those procedures as part of an ongoing major redesign of the airspace at DIA. 

"We are very grateful to Southwest for their partnership with us, the FAA and others who were instrumental in the design and implementation of this essential phase of NextGen at DIA," said Denver's Manager of Aviation, Kim Day. "In fact, our team composed of representatives from Southwest and other airline partners, consultants, DIA and FAA was recently honored by the Air Traffic Association for the unprecedented partnership that redesigned Denver's airspace. Many thanks to Southwest for their continued collaboration and support!"

RNP procedures at DIA have the potential to save Southwest Airlines an estimated 20 gallons of fuel per flight on visual approaches and more than 90 gallons of fuel per flight on instrument approaches. The carrier has committed a substantial amount of resources toward engineering and computer modeling, as well as flight simulator and flight trials, to support the advancement of RNP approaches.

"Southwest is playing a major role in supporting FAA development of RNP procedures, which benefit the industry as a whole, as well as the communities we serve," said Rick Dalton, Southwest Airlines Director of Airspace and Flow Management. "These efficient RNP approaches reduce noise and carbon emissions, allowing carriers to pass on efficiencies to their Customers, and the current successes of this program could not have been achieved without the support and leadership of the Denver TRACON, the Denver Air Route Traffic Control Center, and Denver International Airport."

Southwest is a nationally recognized leader in RNP implementation and is working alongside the FAA, airport officials, and industry stakeholders as the lead carrier to develop and implement more than 150 RNP procedures for public use at 40 airports across the nation. RNP Authorization Required (AR) procedures are high-performance, GPS-based, continuous-descent approaches that improve safety, reduce carbon emissions, and are designed to conserve fuel characteristics that exist in an airline's fleet.

"Cooperation between carriers and the FAA is vital for the success of NextGen across the system," Dalton said. "Southwest looks forward to continued partnerships with the FAA and airport officials as we work toward a modernized air traffic control system by continuing to develop RNP procedures."

In 2011, Southwest Airlines began flying RNP routes at 11 airports across the country after retrofitting 345 737-700 Boeing aircraft with advanced avionics and training nearly 6,000 Pilots and 200 Dispatchers. Today, Southwest Airlines continues to support the development of RNP procedures, with the goal of operating RNP approaches at all 96 airports it currently serves.

ABOUT SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.

In its 43rd year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by nearly 45,000 Employees to more than 100 million Customers annually. Southwest is the nation's largest carrier in terms of originating domestic passengers boarded and operates the largest fleet of Boeing aircraft in the world to serve 96 destinations in 41 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and five near-international countries via wholly owned subsidiary, AirTran Airways. Southwest is one of the most honored airlines in the world, known for its triple bottom line approach that takes into account the carrier's performance and productivity, the importance of its People and the communities it serves, and its commitment to efficiency and the planet. The 2012 Southwest Airlines One Report™ can be found at southwest.com/citizenship.

From its first flights on June 18, 1971, Southwest Airlines launched an era of unprecedented affordability in air travel described by the U.S. Department of Transportation as "The Southwest Effect," a lowering of fares and increase in passenger traffic wherever the carrier serves. With Southwest Airlines, Bags Fly Free ® (first and second checked pieces of luggage, size and weight limits apply), and there are no change fees when you need to change your flight. Southwest's fleet offers leather seating and the comfort of full-size cabins, a majority of which are equipped with satellite-based WiFi connectivity over the United States, which enables live and video-on-demand TV currently FREE compliments of DISH, and a new, sustainable cabin interior. Southwest acquired AirTran Airways in May 2011 and by the end of 2014 intends to complete the full integration of the AirTran network into Southwest. With 41 consecutive years of profitability, the People of Southwest and AirTran operate more than 3,600 flights a day. Southwest Airlines' frequent flights and low fares are available online at southwest.com or by phone at 800-I-FLY-SWA.

ABOUT DENVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Denver International Airport is the 13th-busiest airport in the world and the fifth-busiest airport in the United States. With more than 50 million passengers traveling through the airport each year, DIA is one of the busiest airline hubs in the world's largest aviation market.  DIA is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $26 billion for the region annually. For more information visit www.flydenver.com, check us out on YouTube and Pinterest, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

SOURCE Southwest Airlines

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