After the merger of Orlando-based AirTran Airways in late 2014 under the Southwest Airlines brand, the company’s operating income almost doubled, from 2.2 billion U.S. dollars to 4.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2015. The merger also provided growth on the domestic passenger market. In 2015, Southwest Airlines became the leading carrier in terms of market share and surpassed its main competitors, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. The airline managed to keep its domestic supremacy also in 2016.
In 2016, the low-cost airline carried close to 125 million passengers and had a capacity of over 148 million available seat miles (ASMs). Its main hubs in December 2016 were Chicago Midway and Baltimore, with more than 200 daily departures offered in that month. Falling fuel costs enabled the airline to lower its operating expenses from 16.38 billion U.S. dollars in 2014 to 15.7 billion U.S. dollars the next year. However, by 2016, the company reported the highest operating expenses in the last six years.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the company scored 80 points in 2016, with 100 being the highest and best possible score. The airline had one of the lowest rates of consumer complaints received in 2016.