Southwest Airlines Pilots Elect Captain Steve Chase As Union President


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Southwest Airlines Pilots Elect Captain Steve Chase As Union President

By Daniel Baxter

October 31, 2010 - The membership of the Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) in voting that closed Tuesday elected Captain Steve Chase to a two-year term as Union president, the Dallas-based Captain will lead union’s efforts through 2012. 

Captain Chase received 65 percent of the vote in the election to represent almost 6,000 pilots. A North Texas native, Chase has been a pilot at Southwest Airlines since 1988 and is currently based out of Dallas Love Field. 

“I am truly honored to have the pilots’ trust in leading them for the next two years, and I would like to thank our current president Carl Kuwitzky for his work in laying a strong foundation for those that will now follow,” said Captain Chase.


“With Southwest Airlines’ acquisition of AirTran, our pilots are facing a significant change in the Company that will result in a monumental change in their careers. The next two years are pivotal for the Southwest pilots, and I am ready to work on their behalf.” Captain Chase is currently amid a two-year term as a SWAPA board member representing Dallas pilots. His previous service to SWAPA includes four years as a Dallas representative (2005-2008) and he also served on the Association’s Financial Oversight Committee in 2007.  

In addition, First Officer Jason Pettit was elected to serve as 2nd Vice President for the same two year term. Pettit is Dallas-based and will serve the pilot group full-time managing the Union budget, elections and other executive tasks. Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association (SWAPA) is the sole bargaining unit for the more than 5,900 pilots of Southwest Airlines. Southwest pilots are leaders in aviation industry productivity and are the world’s leading experts on flying the Boeing-737, the only aircraft type at the Company. 

SWAPA celebrated 30 years of service on March 27, 2008. Prior to the union’s beginnings in 1978, pilots worked cooperatively with the Company to compile work rules for safe, efficient operations. That cooperative spirit has continued through the negotiation of eight labor contracts.


“We provide excellent service to our passengers and we work efficiently and effectively to help improve our Company’s bottom line,” SWAPA President, Capt. Carl Kuwitzky said. “We will continue to be an integral part of our Company’s continued success and we are dedicated to the future growth of our pilot group and Southwest Airlines.” 

Often called upon by government and industry officials for their aircraft experience and proactive safety approach, Southwest pilots are leaders in regulatory and legislative issues on Capitol Hill. As an independent pilot union, SWAPA is a member of the Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) and heads the CAPA Safety Council.


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