Southwest CEO speaks out on mergers, industry outlook

08/20/2009 | Wall Street Journal, The · Wall Street Journal, The

"Even Tiger Woods doesn't win every tournament," says Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly in reference to Southwest's surprise loss last week in a takeover bid for Frontier Airlines. He says Southwest will be "opportunistic" in searching out future deals, sticking to its conservative playbook and searching out airlines in bankruptcy. "Absent bankruptcy, I think it's pretty difficult to make airline mergers work for a variety of reasons," he says. Kelly professes no regrets in the unsuccessful bid for Frontier, because a more aggressive effort might have jeopardized labor relations at Southwest. As for the future, Kelly believes "the airline industry will continue to suffer," and says, "My outlook for industry revenues is still pessimistic in the near term."

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Wall Street Journal, The · Wall Street Journal, The

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