Southwest Airlines’ Mission Statement, Vision Statement & Purpose

Southwest Airlines vision statement, mission statement, business purpose, aviation business, corporate strategic management case study analysis
A Southwest aircraft taxiing at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Southwest Airlines’ mission statement and vision statement, along with its business purpose, present corporate strategic aims for leadership in the global civil aviation market. (Photo: Public Domain)

Southwest Airlines’ industry position as the leading low-cost commercial aviation company is a result of following a mission statement and a vision statement that aim for a dominant competitive position. The airline enterprise has a history of expansion where cost minimization is a core factor in operations management. Southwest’s corporate mission represents the business purpose and strategic objectives for leadership in customer experience and relations and human resource management. These factors have significant implications for the corporation’s marketing strategies presenting the business as a practical air travel option. Southwest’s corporate vision focuses on international leadership, revealing strategic planning for expanding operations. The vision statement and mission statement establish primary guiding principles that shape Southwest’s strategies to grow and explore new opportunities in the global commercial aviation market.

Business Purpose. Southwest Airlines’ purpose is to “Connect People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel.” This purpose statement provides a basis for the mission and vision of the air travel business. The mission statement and the purpose both provide a characterization of the business and its nature. Through this characterization, the mission statement positions the business in its competitive situation, as determinable in a Five Forces analysis of Southwest Airlines. On the other hand, the vision statement sets long-term goals based on the business purpose. To achieve these goals and satisfy the vision statement, Southwest Airlines needs to successfully compete with American, Delta, United, and other firms in the industry. Future changes in Southwest’s mission and vision may reflect changes in the company’s purpose statement or changes in the interpretation of this purpose to account for trends in the commercial aviation industry and target markets.

Southwest’s Mission Statement

Southwest Airlines’ mission is “To provide the traveling public with low fares and great Customer Service.” This corporate mission statement is synonymous to the airline company’s business purpose, which emphasizes affordability and friendliness. The following are key points contained in Southwest Airlines’ mission statement:

  1. Traveling public as customers
  2. Low fares
  3. Great customer service

Southwest’s mission statement specifies the target customers and the nature of the business. This point shows that the company is a provider of transportation services that benefit the public. The corporate mission also states “low fares” to focus on cost minimization as a goal or factor in Southwest Airlines’ generic competitive strategy and intensive growth strategies. Moreover, the mission statement makes the airline business provide “great customer service” as a determinant of its industry positioning. This quality of customer service relates to Southwest Airlines’ organizational culture (work culture), which influences employees’ behaviors when interacting with travelers. This mission statement clearly illustrates the company’s operations and the outputs provided to the target air travel market.

The aviation industry situation and related parties influence Southwest’s ability to maintain low fares as a goal based on this mission statement. For example, the costs of procuring aircraft from Boeing and Airbus affect the fares offered to travelers. Also, changes in the costs and prices of aircraft engine manufacturers, like General Electric (GE), can impact Southwest’s ability to achieve the goals of its mission statement. Considering the connection between this mission statement and the company’s vision statement, these external factors in the aviation/aerospace industry also affect how Southwest reaches its long-term business targets based on its vision statement.

Southwest’s Vision Statement

Southwest Airlines’ vision is “To be the world’s most loved, most efficient, and most profitable airline.” This corporate vision statement establishes high strategic goals that are based on the business characteristics stated in the airline company’s business purpose. The following key points are in Southwest Airlines’ vision statement:

  1. Global market
  2. Most loved
  3. Most efficient
  4. Most profitable

Southwest’s vision statement aims for the world market, which means that the company’s strategic goals involve global operations. The company also aims to be the “most loved” among travelers. Southwest Airlines’ marketing mix (4P) and related marketing strategies and tactics can promote the business to achieve this goal of the corporate vision. Also, the company can develop its stakeholder management programs for this goal. For example, Southwest Airlines’ corporate social responsibility strategy can strengthen the company’s brand and corporate image by supporting community development. Moreover, the vision statement sets the goal for the highest efficiency in the air travel industry. The strengths presented in the SWOT analysis of Southwest Airlines, such as scalability and the company’s large fleet, can support the economies of scale needed to achieve this goal of efficiency. In addition, the vision statement establishes the goal of the highest profitability, which relates to various strategies in all areas of the airline business to maximize revenues and profits.

Implications of Southwest Airlines’ Mission and Vision

Corporate Mission Statement. Southwest Airlines prioritizes customer service in its mission statement, along with factors related to operational efficiency and cost effectiveness. The corporate mission aims for high-quality customer service and cost-effective transportation services. Achieving these business objectives depends on how Southwest performs relative to the competition. Along with the business purpose, the mission’s focus on cost and customer service means that the company’s strategies need to support low-cost operations while ensuring high-quality services. This condition may prove challenging, especially because cost minimization can reduce service quality. Satisfying this requirement of Southwest’s mission statement can lead to competitive advantages that are difficult to match in civil aviation.

Corporate Vision Statement. Southwest Airlines’ objective of global industry leadership is specified in its vision statement. Based on the business purpose and vision, becoming the most loved airline implies customer loyalty and strong competitive advantages. Also, maintaining this leadership position involves fine-tuned strategies that match industry trends, such as the ones identifiable through a PESTEL/PESTLE analysis of Southwest Airlines. Moreover, the corporate vision includes the goal of high efficiency that supports high profitability, which is another long-term business goal. The strategic objectives of Southwest’s vision statement include long-term marketing effectiveness, operational efficiency, and financial stability.