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Southwest ponders retrofitting its fleet with Boeing’s Sky Interior

Southwest Airlines is studying retrofitting a portion of its fleet with elements of Boeing's Sky Interior featured on its new 737-700s.

Carrier chief executive Gary Kelly revealed the evaluation during a 20 October earnings call.

Noting Southwest was "enthused about the Sky Interior" on its 737-800s being delivered in 2012, Kelly stated those aircraft will have a unique interior compared with the rest of the carrier's fleet, which at the end of the third quarter was 699 aircraft. That includes Boeing 737-700s and 717s operated by Southwest's subsidiary AirTran.

Kelly said Southwest could possibly incorporate elements of the Sky Interior into its future 737-700 deliveries or even retrofit its existing fleet. As of 30 June, Southwest operated 414 737-700s.

Southwest's chief conceded "there have been considerations" with respect to the Sky Interior. The carrier "has made some decisions" regarding the new interior, said Kelly, adding the carrier was not yet ready to share its conclusions.

Southwest does not offer embedded IFE, but it is fitting its fleet with Row 44’s Ku-band in-flight connectivity service, which will ultimately support an entertainment and information portal for passengers.

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