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 Southwest Airlines Founder Herbert D. Kelleher to
Receive Innovation Award at TravelCom’09
Washington, DC – February 10, 2009 - The U.S. Travel Association today announced that Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) Founder and Chairman Emeritus Herbert D. Kelleher will receive the Second Annual Steve Fossett Innovation Award at TravelCom’09, the association’s eCommerce and distribution conference to be held March 31 –  April 2 in Atlanta, GA. 

“Herb Kelleher is one of our industry’s greatest leaders and true pioneers. His ingenuity, competitive spirit and drive for excellence have not only challenged his aviation peers to strive for higher standards, but he has blazed a new path for everyone in the travel business,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. 

On April 1st, Kelleher will receive the Steve Fossett Award, which recognizes a worldwide travel industry leader who has broken new ground, pushed boundaries and revolutionized the industry, leaving a legacy of long-lasting change. Last year’s recipient was Richard Branson, Founder and Chairman of the Virgin Group of Companies.

Southwest Airlines started in 1971 with three airplanes. Today, it operates with a fleet of more than 537 airplanes and performs over 3,200 flights a day. Under Kelleher’s leadership, the airline posted profits for 36 consecutive years and delivered record returns to its shareholders, the highest of any company included in the S&P 500 from 1972-2002. 

Other senior executives speaking at TravelCom’09 include:

  • Gregg Brockway, Chief Executive Officer, TripIt
  • Hugh Crean, General Manager, Live Search Farecast, a Microsoft Company
  • Kevin Fliess, CEO and Co-Founder, TravelMuse
  • Steve Hafner, CEO and Co-Founder,
  • Barney Harford, President & CEO, Orbitz Worldwide
  • Hugh Jones, President & CEO, Travelocity Global
  • Kevin Krone, Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Distribution, Southwest Airlines
  • Cree Lawson, President & CEO, Travel Ad Network
  • Ken Penny, Director, Internet Planning, Continental Airlines
  • Christine Petersen, Chief Marketing Officer, TripAdvisor
  • Robert Sahadevan, Vice President--Mileage Plus, United Airlines
  • Rob Torres, Managing Director, Travel, Google, Inc.
For more information and to register for the show, visit

The U.S. Travel Association is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $740 billion travel industry. U.S. Travel’s mission is to promote and facilitate increased travel to and within the United States. For more information, visit


 Kristy Chandler



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