Kevin Cokely, NBC 5 News
Flight dispatchers for Southwest Airlines are now working in a $30 million state-of-the-art facility. NBC 5's Kevin Cokely got an exclusive first look inside, only weeks after operations began there.
Southwest Airlines' new Network Operations Control Center at Love Field in Dallas began operating on May 3 and keeping Southwest Airlines flying has never been easier, or more high tech.
"We've provided a big grand room for our decision makers and our planners to see what the operation is telling us, the visual cues to help them make smarter decisions, farther in advance to help provide the highest level of service," said Mike Miller, NOC Senior Director.
Three times larger than Southwest's old operations center, the 50,000-square-foot room brings 230 flight dispatchers and other working groups together in one place.
"We have crew operations sitting right next to them with customer service coordinators that are watching aircraft, crew and customers flow and resolving any issues that we have," said Miller.
Bathed in blue light to be easy on the eyes, the NOC is a $30 million investment in the future of the country's largest domestic carrier.
"It's a big investment in our operation to provide the highest level of service and provide our tools, necessary tools, to our decision makers to make sure we give them a state of the art facility, state of the art tools to help them make the right decisions timely," said Miller.
Huge flat screen monitors overhead provide the latest information, from weather forecasts to maintenance issues, and track the airlines 3,500 daily flights.
Leadership groups sitting side by side on the "Bridge," a nerve center in the middle of the room, resolve issues to keep planes safely in the air.
"We want to make sure we have the right people in the right place to help facilitate good decisions," said Miller.
Hundreds of high tech workstations adjust at the touch of a button to keep workers comfortable and focused.
"There's times where you want to be able to stretch and flex and move around a little bit and every one of our positions is a sit stand position," said Miller. "So there's times of the day that you'll see a lot of people standing up and an hour later they're sitting down."
The NOC is one of the safest rooms in North Texas, built to withstand a direct hit from an EF3 tornado.