This site uses cookies to provide you with a more responsive and personalized service. By using this site you agree to our use of cookies. Please read our cookie notice for more information on the cookies we use and how to delete or block them.

Bookmark Email Print this page

Disruptive Innovation: The Southwest Airlines Case Revisited


Southwest Airlines’ “low cost carrier” (LCC) model captured the attention of professionals and academics across the globe. Flying only one type of plane, having a point-to-point route structure, providing one class of service and not having meals and assigned seats are the defining attributes of this model. In his 1996 Harvard Business Review article “What is strategy?” Michael E. Porter provided a detailed explanation of the advantages this strategy presents. He focused on how the LCC model is relatively immune to competitive responses due to fewer operational costs for its brand of services and how, unlike major hub-and-spoke carriers, it is not committed to operations that include tradeoffs between the performance and cost that determines customer value.

In Disruptive innovation: the Southwest Airlines case revisited, Michael E. Raynor, director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, discusses aspects of the LCC model that explain their significant financial performance. He focuses on Southwest Airlines’ growth through disruption across different timelines of the company life cycle.

Download the PDF below to understand how disruption theory explains the “what” and “when” of Southwest’s success.

Related links

Share this page

Email this Send to LinkedIn Send to Facebook Tweet this More sharing options

Stay connected