03/28/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Southwest Airlines Still Tops, Despite Recent Woes

Despite coming under fire recently for missed inspections, Southwest Airlines carried more passengers in 2007 than any other U.S. airline.

New numbers released today by the Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics puts Southwest at the top of that list for the first time ever, surpassing American Airlines, the preferred choice for travelers for the previous five years. Southwest carried 101.9 million passengers last year.

"Southwest Airlines has been able to grow because of the customer demand for friendly service, affordable fares and a dependable operation," said Linda Rutherford, Southwest's vice president of public relations and community affairs. "The numbers show we have grown to become the biggest but we continue our focus to be the best."

-- OR --

Read about how Southwest grounded 43 planes on March 12.