Southwest Airlines founder Herbert Kelleher has died at 87

Photo: © Southwest Airlines

Herbert David Kelleher, the founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines, has died aged 87 on Thursday, the airline confirms.

Born in 1931, he founded ‘Air Southwest’ in 1966, the airline then became today’s Southwest Airlines and started flight operations from Dalles Love Field Airport in 1971. Kelleher left Southwest in May 2018. The low-cost carrier is the third largest airline in the world by passengers carried in 2017.

‘Herb’ Kelleher is described by many as a pioneer in the aviation industry.

Southwest Airlines said in a statement: “Herb was a pioneer, a maverick, and an innovator. His vision revolutionized commercial aviation and democratized the skies. Herb’s passion, zest for life, and insatiable investment in relationships made lasting and immeasurable impressions on all who knew him and will forever be the bedrock and esprit de corps of Southwest Airlines.”