Southwest Airlines has slashed its fleet growth plan in the face "of volatile and unprecedented" fuel prices, and is reviewing a previous proposal to retire 22 aircraft this year.

The low-cost carrier, which saw its first-quarter net income decline to $34 million from a profit of $93 million a year earlier, says the revised strategy calls for the delivery of no more than 14 Boeing 737-700s in 2009 - half the previous plan to accept 28.

The remaining 14 aircraft deliveries (11 firm orders and three options) have been deferred to 2015.

 © AirTeamImages
A Boeing 737-700 operated by Southwest Airlines

Southwest has also moved 12 deliveries scheduled for 2010 into the 2013-15 timeframe, but has exercised 12 options for delivery in 2010-12 (six in 2010, three in 2011, and three in 2012), bringing its firm orders for 2008 through 2015 to 125.

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