Wed, May 21, 2008
Union Applauds 38 Years Of 'Outstanding Leadership'
When was the last time
we've heard airline pilots praising the leadership of an outgoing
executive? It's been awhile, to be sure... but such was the case
Wednesday, as several Southwest Airlines pilots sat in the
audience, in full uniform, of Southwest co-founder Herb Kelleher's
last annual shareholder's meeting as Chairman of the
The Southwest Airlines Pilots' Association said the pilots
planned to celebrate Kelleher's tenure of dedicated service to the
airline, and the pilot group... noting Kelleher was instrumental in
the negotiation of all seven contracts and several extensions
between Southwest Airlines and the pilots.
"Herb Kelleher developed the model for operating a successful
airline," said SWAPA President Capt. Carl Kuwitzky. "His 38 years
of innovation, leadership and positively outrageous service are
something to truly commend. The pilots of Southwest Airlines want
to express our sentiment to Herb that it has been an honor and a
privilege to be a part of his aviation legacy."
Kuwitzky also planned to present Kelleher with a congratulatory
gift, signed by the current SWAPA Board of Directors.
"Herb Kelleher has set the gold standard for our pilot group and
our industry during his years at Southwest Airlines," continued
Kuwitzky. "Even though Herb is remaining with the company for the
next five years, today is a monumental day in the history of
Southwest Airlines and our pilots want to give Herb the respect he
While the pilots' affection for Kelleher is apparent, the
outpouring of "Love" for the outgoing chairman is also well-timed
for the union. As ANN has reported,
Southwest pilots are currently in negotiations with the airline for
a new contract... their first since 1994, and the first that will
be negotiated without Kelleher at the helm.
No doubt, Southwest pilots hope to send a subtle message to
current Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, who will succeed Kelleher as
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