Texas businessman Rollin King, who brought up the idea of Southwest Airlines to his attorney in 1967, died Thursday at his Dallas home.
King, 83, was a San Antonio businessman who sat down with his attorney, Herb Kelleher, to sketch out the idea for an intra-Texas airline. The idea turned into Air Southwest. By the time all the battles were finished and the airline began flying on June 18, 1971, the company had been renamed Southwest Airlines.
"The extended Family of Southwest Airlines Employees and Retirees shares in the loss of Rollin King and honors the legacy of affordable air travel he sparked more than forty years ago. The King family is in our thoughts as we pause to pay tribute to a man whose great idea, resourcefulness, and perseverance launched Southwest Airlines in our endeavor to democratize the skies—first over Texas, then America."
Chairman, President & CEO of Southwest Airlines
"I am indeed profoundly saddened to learn of Rollin's passing. His idea to create a low cost-low fare, better-service-quality airline in Texas subsequently proved to be an empirical role model for not only the U.S. as a whole but, ultimately, for all of the world's inhabited continents. The People of Southwest Airlines grieve with Rollin's family; mourn his absence; and thank him for his vision. God Bless Rollin King!"
Chairman Emeritus and Co-Founder of Southwest Airlines