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Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:Â LUV) is an American airline based in Dallas, Texas. Southwest is the largest airline in the United States, based on domestic passengers carried, as of June 30, 2010Â (2010 -06-30). Southwest operates more than 3,100 flights a day, as of January 2011, utilizing a fleet of 547 Boeing 737 aircraft.
Southwest is known throughout the aviation industry as a “low-cost carrier” because of its unique business model. The model includes flying one aircraft type, the Boeing 737, on high-density routes throughout the United States. Southwest’s “low-cost” business model is further defined by the airline not offering many services, which are a standard offering on most traditional American carriers, such as a First Class cabin, airport lounges, reserved seat assignments, and video/audio programing. By not offering these services, Southwest claims that it can offer lower fares and produce a higher return on invested capital than other airline companies. On September 27, 2010, Southwest Airlines announced it would acquire AirTran Airways.