Southwest Airlines announced today that Randy Babbitt, Senior Vice President of Labor Relations, is retiring after 50 years in the commercial aviation industry. Babbitt joined Southwest in 2012 and has spent the last four years leading the carrier's Labor Relations Team.

"We wish Randy all the best in his retirement after a long and distinguished career in aviation," said Mike Van de Ven, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. "We are grateful for his many contributions." 

During Babbitt's tenure, Southwest has reached contracts with six workgroups, including: the Transport Workers Union, Local 555 (Ramp, Operations, Provisioning and Cargo Agents); Transport Workers Union, Local 557 (Flight Instructors); International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District 142 (Customer Service Agents, Source of Support, and Customer Support and Services); International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Airline Division (Flight Simulator Technicians); and two contracts with the Transport Workers Union, Local 550 (one with Meteorologists, one with Dispatchers).

Boards of directors from the four largest unions at Southwest Airlines,  completed votes of “no confidence” in the CEO and COO of the airline.

Babbitt began his aviation career with Eastern Air Lines in 1966, and he later worked with the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), spent time industry consulting and with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before joining Southwest. Babbitt will work with his Team on an orderly transition of his responsibilities before his departure this fall.