“We want to be America’s most-loved airline,” says Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly. In order to do that, “you have to go to the places that people want to fly,” he tells Fortune’s Susie Gharib. And he’s doing just that.
In case you haven’t noticed, Southwest has dramatically changed its flight plan in the past two years. It now flies to 86 cities in North America.
As Kelly tells it, in the “old days,” Southwest was a low-cost, low-fare regional airline, flying mostly to small airports. It’s still known for those low fares, but is now a powerful national player, flying into America’s biggest airports in New York, Washington, Boston, and Atlanta, and even into some international destinations in Central America and the Caribbean.
Kelly’s airline is competing for business with America’s big three: United Continental, Delta, and American Airlines. So far, so good, according to Kelly. Business is taking off and so is the company’s stock.