For many of the communities Southwest Airlines serves, 2017 was a challenging year. Several places we love were impacted by natural disasters, including an 8.2-magnitude earthquake that struck the Mexican states Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Tabasco on September 7. Southwest has proudly served Mexico since 2014, and our Hearts were heavy after this disaster, which was closely followed by the Central Mexico earthquake on September 19. One of the areas most impacted was Tapachula, Chiapas. People living in this area supply some of the coffee beans utilized by Community Coffee Company, our onboard partner that provides our inflight coffee.
Since 2016, Southwest and Community Coffee have teamed up with the ECOM Foundation to support coffee farming communities in this remote region of Mexico. Currently, for every pound of Community® Signature Blend coffee Southwest serves, Southwest and Community Coffee help fund educational programs in Mexico, delivered through satellite.
In continuation of support for this region, Community Coffee and the ECOM Foundation are again teaming up to meet local needs by launching a sustainable housing project to help rebuild after the earthquake. This project will focus on building homes for families located in the southern Mexico region where some of Community® Arabica coffee beans are sourced. The families affected by the earthquake will have new homes constructed using bamboo, a sustainable and low-cost material. The new structures are earthquake resilient, which will help provide the families with a more secure place to call home.
At Southwest, disaster preparedness and response is one of the core pillars of our community outreach efforts, and we are honored to play a role as the people of Tapachula rebuild. September marks the one-year anniversary of the earthquakes, as well as the start of National Preparedness Month. We encourage you to review your disaster preparedness plans this month, so you can be ready for anything that comes your way.
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Southwest Airlines is proud to share that it has been recognized by the American Society of Professional Communicators (ASPC) for its 2016 Southwest Airlines One Report TM . The One Report highlights the many ways Southwest brings to life its Purpose of connecting People to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel. Annually, the ASPC sponsors the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report Awards which celebrates innovation and excellence in CSR reporting.
The 2016 Southwest Airlines One Report won two best-of-category awards for:
Best Corporate Social Responsibility Report
Corporate Social Responsibility Report: Best Front Cover
Additionally, Southwest earned the ASPC Colonial Awards for Excellence for:
Corporate Social Responsibility Report: Best Letter to Stakeholders
Corporate Social Responsibility Report: Best Interactive Online Experience
The Report, which features the great work our Employees accomplished throughout 2016, is truly a testament to their hard work and dedication to the triple bottom line of Performance, People, and Planet, and being a great global citizen.
Be on the lookout for the 2017 One Report, coming late spring!
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Notice: Southwest Airlines resumed scheduled flights to/from San Juan (SJU) with a reduced schedule starting today, Thursday, September 28. Seat availability is extremely limited due to high demand. For details on offered flights and availability, please check online or call us at 800-I FLY-SWA (800-435-9792). If you are a Southwest Customer impacted by Hurricane Maria, we are offering flexible accommodations for those Customers holding reservations from San Juan (SJU) from Monday, September 18, through Wednesday, November 1, and want to alter their travel plans. We will operate a humanitarian flight (SJU-MCO) on Friday morning for those who are stranded. Customers wishing to standby for the humanitarian flight on Friday, September 29 should arrive at the airport by 6:00 a.m. local time.
Our thoughts continue to be with the people of Puerto Rico as they recover from this devastating storm. We are hopeful conditions there continue to improve so that we can operate more frequently and continue to increase our role in that recovery.
Friday, September 29, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. CDT
I wanted to give you a closer look at one of our humanitarian flights and the work our Employees are doing on the ground in Puerto Rico.
This footage was captured by Patric, from Southwest's Multimedia Team. He was able to fly down and back earlier this week on one of our humanitarian flights. One of the terminals regained power today, but there are still many challenges on the ground. Our hearts are heavy, but what our Employee Ramzes said in the video brings it all home. He said, "that smile and that thank you, also the handshake, that's what keeps me moving. People."
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at 10:30 p.m. CDT
Today, we've been able to connect with many of our Customers in San Juan to inform them about our humanitarian flights. Power outages are widespread, and internet and cellular connectivity are extremely limited. The airport has largely been energized using backup power generators. Access to operate flights into and out of San Juan (SJU) is still heavily restricted by the FAA, following the impact of Hurricane Maria.
SJU Ramp Supervisor Ricardo Berrios Perez greets Robert Robles,Ground Operations Regional Manager for International, as the initial Assessment Team arrived in SJU on Sunday, Sept 24. Since Sunday, we've been flying in a crew to assess the damage and assist with operating a limited number of daily relief flights, carrying supplies into San Juan and more than 1200 passengers back to Orlando (as of Thurs). We operated two of those flights earlier today and are planning two more for tomorrow (Wednesday), based on the number of slots we are given to operate in and out of the San Juan airport. Air space congestion has been a significant issue since Saturday, and early on, we ran the risk of our Crews spending too much time in the air waiting for entry to San Juan. Both relief flights from San Juan on Tuesday departed full. Terminal B, where we operate our Southwest flights was badly damaged and we have had to run manual operations from other terminals as we await repairs. We continue to coordinate with government and relief agencies to identify ways we can assist.
We have canceled all scheduled service through at least Wednesday, Sept. 27, including our originating flights from San Juan on Thursday, Sept. 28. We still plan to operate two relief flights out of San Juan on Wednesday, from Orlando. If you are a Southwest Customer in SJU and your Southwest flight has been cancelled, please call (800) 435-9792 if you are interested in traveling on one of these humanitarian flights.
This equipment from our friends at Sprint is scheduled to be sent as they travel in with us on Thursday, and will help with improved cell service.
Notes from individuals like Cristina Rodriguez and Stephen Mueller are what remind us about the impact and importance of Southwest's role in recovery. Cristina was on our first humanitarian flight out of San Juan on Monday:
Please continue to follow this blog post for the latest updates from San Juan.
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