Southwest Airlines, long respected for its low-cost, on-time brand promise that strives for great custumer service and a fun work environment for its employees, has made a mega move with its announcement to purchase AirTran Airways. The deal will allow the nation’s largest low-cost air carrier access to the New York and Boston markets. Further, the new structure will allow Southwest access to the Delta Airlines hub at Atlanta’s Hartfield-Jackson International Airport, the nation’s busiest.
The initial market reaction was positive with a spike in the Southwest stock price. The deal provides Southwest with great opportunity to grow market share.
As strategic Orlando Human Resources consultants, we note the challenges for Southwest to maintain its highly regarded work culture while moving forward to integrate AirTran employees into the Southwest ways of doing things.
In other words, keeping what you have while growing the company. This is very often the most significant challenge from a corporate culture standpoint when integrating two distinct business entities. However, given Southwest’s past successes on the “people front,” we’d bet on Southwest to make all the right moves.
Rick and Christina