20 Southwest Airlines Statistics [2023]: Passengers, Revenue, And Facts

By Conor McMahon
Mar. 23, 2023
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Research Summary. Southwest Airlines is one of the most popular domestic airlines in the United States. Since 1971, Southwest has grown from a small Texas-based airline to one of the preeminent players in the country. There are several key figures any customer, employee, or investor should consider when thinking about Southwest Airlines. They include:

  • Southwest provided flights for 123.3 million passengers in 2021.

  • Southwest has over 55,100 employees.

  • Southwest Airlines operates 741 aircraft as of 2022.

  • Southwest Airlines made $15.8 billion in revenue in 2021.

For further analysis, we broke down the data in the following ways:
Flights and Destinations | Passengers | Company Stats | Trends
Southwest Airlines flies to 121+ destinations in 11 countries

Southwest Airlines Statistics by Flights and Destinations

  • Southwest Airlines has 121 destinations.

    For a predominantly domestic-based airline, Southwest provides a large variety of locations. This gives customers many different options. A key part of Southwest’s growth has been its expansion into new markets.

  • Southwest Airlines flies in 11 different countries.

    In the U.S., Southwest serves 42 states, as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. Southwest is also found in ten other countries. They are Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, Aruba, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Belize, Cuba, Cayman Islands, and Turks and Caicos. Although primarily a domestic airline, Southwest is expanding southward.

  • In 2021, Southwest Airlines averaged nearly 3,000 flights a day.

    Their total flight amount for 2021 was 1,066,934. This was a significant increase from the 897,540 flights in 2020, though the airline still hadn’t matched the 2019 levels when they had 1,367,727 flights. This can be attributed to the impact the Covid Pandemic had on the airline, like the rest of the industry.

  • 81.2% of Southwest flights in 2021 were on time.

    This makes Southwest Airlines one of the most reliable and punctual airlines in the U.S. Such a statistic is key in building customer satisfaction and retaining customers. Since it is mainly a domestic airline, Southwest has to strongly consider the needs of its customers while competing with larger airline companies.

Southwest Airlines Statistics by Passengers

  • In 2021, Southwest’s average passenger load factor was 78.5%.

    This occupancy rate is an increase from 52.4% in 2020 and nearly matches the 2019 levels of 83.5%. Southwest has clearly made strides to recover from the Covid Pandemic and return its flights to normal.

  • Southwest’s loyalty program accounted for $2.1 billion in revenue in 2021.

    Southwest has been able to capitalize on its returning passengers by enticing them with its reward program. The benefits help retain passengers and build up revenue. Like many other airlines, Southwest has made its rewards program a key pillar in its business model.

  • Southwest has over 12,600 freight agents, and freight revenue accounted for $187 million in 2021.

    Though not the biggest part of Southwest Airlines, freight service plays a key role in diversifying Southwest’s assets, which gives them strength within the industry. Freight is a constant need in the economic supply chain, so Southwest is able to play its part in this industry.

Southwest Airlines Company Statistics

  • Southwest has a 17.5% share of domestic revenue passenger miles.

    This places Southwest second in the U.S. market. American Airlines is first, with an 18.6% share. In third and fourth are Delta and United, with 16.6% and 13.2% shares, respectively. This shows that Southwest can effectively compete with much larger airlines.

  • As of April 2022, Southwest is valued at around $23 billion dollars.

    Like many airlines, Southwest has seen its value decline due to the Covid Pandemic. However, Southwest has made steady gains in its rebounding value, clearly showing that investors are happy with what Southwest provides.

  • Southwest was ranked 336 by Fortune 500.

    This is a drop from their pre-pandemic ranking of 141, but it is still impressive that Southwest Airlines has maintained its industry dominance.

  • The occupancy rate of Southwest Airlines has nearly recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

    As this table shows, the occupancy rate which was stable before the Covid Pandemic, is still making its way back up.

    Occupancy Rate by Year

    Year Occupancy Rate
    2021 78.5%
    2020 52.4%
    2019 83.5%
    2018 83.4%
    2017 83.9%
    2016 84%
  • Domestic travel still makes up the vast majority of Southwest Airlines passenger totals.

    This chart shows that levels over the last ten years have increased significantly on both fronts.

    Number of Passengers for Domestic and International flights

    Year Domestic Flights – Passengers International Flights – Passengers Total
    2022 N/A N/A N/A
    2021 120,699,197 2,019,347 122,718,544
    2020 66,599,890 1,185,346 67,785,236
    2019 158,418,529 4,262,482 162,681,011
    2018 159,044,969 4,560,630 163,605,599
    2017 153,809,012 3,867,925 157,676,937
    2016 148,820,598 2,919,679 151,740,277
    2015 142,407,578 2,167,028 144,574,606
    2014 126,694,783 499,767 127,194,550
    2013 115,322,785 0 115,322,785
    2012 112,234,074 0 112,234,074
  • Annual revenue in 2021 was still lower than nearly ten years ago.

    Though Southwest has seen growth from 2020 to 2021, revenue is still short of pre-pandemic levels.

    Southwest Revenue Each Year (in billions)

    Year Revenue (billions)
    2022 N/A
    2021 $15.8
    2020 $7.82
    2019 $20.94
    2018 $20.62
    2017 $19.31
    2016 $18.76
    2015 $18.47
    2014 $17.83
    2013 $16.88
    2012 $16.25
  • After seeing a large drop in 2020, passenger levels for Southwest Airlines are on the rise.

    Still, there is a -24.21% change between 2019 and 2021 amounts.

    Amount of Passengers Each Year

    Year Amount of Passengers (millions) % Change
    2022 N/A N/A
    2021 123.3 81.88%
    2020 67.8 -58.33%
    2019 162.7 N/A
  • Flights per day in 2021 were greater than 2020 but less than 2021.

    This is just another statistic that shows Southwest has seen growth over the last year but still needs to reach its amount of pre-pandemic flights a day.

    Southwest Flights Per Day

    Year Total Flights Per Day Avg. % Change
    2022 N/A N/A N/A
    2021 1,066,934 2,923 15.88%
    2020 897,540 2,459 -34.38%
    2019 1,367,727 3,747 N/A
  • 2020 was the first year Southwest Airlines saw a loss of net income.

    This is actually quite impressive, considering how volatile the airline industry can be.

    Year Income/Loss (billions)
    2012 N/A
    2021 $1.75
    2020 -$3.95
    2019 $3.04
    2018 $3.25
    2017 $3.31
    2016 $3.62
    2015 $3.57
    2014 $1.92
    2013 $1.31
    2012 $0.81

Southwest Airlines Statistics FAQ

  1. How many people fly with Southwest Airlines each year?

    In 2021, 123.3 million people flew with Southwest Airlines. On average, about 130 million people fly with Southwest Airlines. In 2020, there was an obvious drop in passengers due to the Covid Pandemic.

    Only 67.8 million flew with Southwest in 2020. 2018 has so far been Southwest Airlines’ biggest year when 163.6 million people flew with them.

  2. Is Southwest Airlines the most popular airline in the United States?

    Southwest Airlines is one of the most popular airlines in the United States. With a market share of 17.5%, Southwest ranks only second to American Airlines. Southwest also is one of the most reliable airlines in terms of punctuality, ranking sixth in 2021.

  3. How many people work for Southwest Airlines?

    55,100 people work for Southwest Airlines. 23,500 people are involved in their flight operations, 3,200 are involved in maintenance, 21,000 are involved in ground service, and 7,400 in administration. Southwest Airlines is clearly a big operation. These figures do not include contract or part-time employees.

  4. How much is Southwest Airlines worth?

    As of April 2021, Southwest Airlines is worth around $23 billion. The market valuation average over the last five years has been around $27 billion, with some of the change attributed to the Covid Pandemic’s effect on the airline industry. The highest Southwest was ever valued was in January 2018, with a value of about $39 billion.

  5. How many aircraft does Southwest Airlines have?

    Between 2021-2022, Southwest Airlines added 13 new aircraft to their fleet. In 2021, 599 of these were owned, and the remaining 129 were leased. With such a sizable fleet, Southwest is able to provide diverse locations with reliable service.

  6. What is Southwest Airlines’s annual revenue?

    In 2021, Southwest Airlines had annual revenue of $15.8 billion. In 2020, their revenue was $7.82 billion, the lowest it had been in the last ten years. The highest year of revenue for Southwest was in 2019, when they generated $20.94 billion.

    Though they are on the rebound, Southwest still needs to pull in more revenue if it wishes to exceed pre-pandemic levels.


Without a doubt, Southwest Airlines is one of the industry’s most important players. Since its humble beginnings as a regional airline in Texas, Southwest has grown to dominate the entirety of the United States domestic market, able to challenge larger players such as American and Delta Airlines.

Like many airlines, Southwest suffered a serious setback during the Covid Pandemic, which it is still recovering from. Though revenue, flights, and passenger levels all increased in 2021 from 2020, they are still yet to reach pre-pandemic levels.

This means Southwest still needs to be mindful of its growth. The airline is trending in the right direction, but more work is still yet to be done.

Southwest will most likely continue in its positive direction. It has a diverse set of destinations, reliable service, and strong financial figures. This will pull in customers and investors alike, acting as feedback on one another to contribute to Southwest’s growth.

Having turned a profit every year except in 2020, Southwest Airlines is in good shape to weather the dynamic forces of the domestic airline industry in the 21st Century.


  1. SEC. “Southwest Airlines 10-K SEC Form.” Accessed April 21, 2022.

  2. Travel Awaits. “You’ll Face Fewer Delays If You Fly These 6 U.S. Airlines.” Accessed April 21, 2022.

  3. United States Department of Transportation. “Bureau of Transportation Statistics.” Accessed April 21, 2022.

  4. YCharts. “Southwest Airlines Co (LUV).” Accessed April 21, 2022.

  5. Statista. “Southwest Airlines’ passenger load factor from 2011 to 2021.” Accessed April 21, 2022.

  6. Companies Market Cap. “Revenue for Southwest Airlines (LUV).” Accessed April 21. 2022.

  7. Investopedia. “Analyzing Southwest Airlines’ (LUV) Market Share.” Accessed April 21, 2022.

  8. Statista. “Southwest Airlines – Statistics & Facts.” Accessed April 21, 2022.

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Conor McMahon

Conor McMahon is a writer for Zippia, with previous experience in the nonprofit, customer service and technical support industries. He has a degree in Music Industry from Northeastern University and in his free time he plays guitar with his friends. Conor enjoys creative writing between his work doing professional content creation and technical documentation.

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