Southwest Airlines: Recognizing management excellence in response to disaster

I have admired the management of Southwest Airlines ever since I first studied the company in 1975 as a student at Harvard Business School.  The only other U.S. airline that comes close to it in the quality of its management is Delta, which has a very different strategy and operational philosophy but which, like SWA, executes its strategy with consistent excellence. When shrapnel (very likely a fan blade) from an uncontained engine failure pierced the fuselage of a flight from LaGuardia to Dallas Love Field, resulting in the awful, almost unimaginable death of one passenger by being partially sucked out a window and injuries to others, I feared that the sort of hysteria usually seen in the media when disaster strikes an airliner might punish Southwest's shareholders.  But in what may be an unprecedented phenomenon, after a passing dip, the share price actually went up:   My colleague Monica Showalter, who covered financial markets for...(Read Full Post)