Southwest rolled out comprehensive strategy to address fuselage incident, cancelations

DALLAS: Southwest Airlines ramped up a "full court press" strategy amidst Friday's fuselage incident and subsequent cancelations, said Linda Rutherford, VP of communications and strategic outreach.

DALLAS: Southwest Airlines ramped up a “full court press” strategy amidst Friday's fuselage incident and subsequent cancelations, said Linda Rutherford, VP of communications and strategic outreach.

Beginning late Friday and throughout the weekend, Rutherford said the airlines put out messages on multiple channels, including news releases via PRNewswire, updates on its media site Swamedia.com, Twitter updates, and Facebook status messages. In addition, the communications team made themselves available to the traditional news media, and influential bloggers.

As of 3:30 p.m. CT yesterday, Southwest announced that close to 90% of the its 79 Boeing 737-700 aircrafts, which were sidelined and led to approximately 700 cancelations, had been inspected. Full operation reportedly resumes today.

Last week, Rutherford spoke to PRWeek about its pending acquisition of Orlando-based AirTran, which it may consider agency support for if the deal goes through. She also addressed a potential fleet growth plan for 2013. Southwest works with Dix & Eaton for strategic counseling, Dig Communications for its recently relaunched Rapid Rewards program, and Linhart PR for a community outreach program in Denver.

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