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Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines’ CEO, on What Went Incorrect


Your unions say that for years, Southwest has been too focused on investors and hasn’t invested enough within the operation. What’s your response to that criticism?

I’ve been asked lots about whether we now have antiquated technology. We spend a billion dollars a 12 months on technology here at Southwest. And, like every company, there are at all times things which might be brand-new, like our maintenance system, and there are at all times things that you simply’re working on.

Now we have a very good operations improvement plan. Crew scheduling is a giant a part of that. Should you just look back on the last 12 months, we put, I feel, eight recent versions of SkySolver in. We’ve hired 120 crew schedulers. We put leadership over crew scheduling and realigned ourselves. I’m not saying for a minute that we’re done or that that’s enough.

On the shareholder query, it’s not a singular decision. We’re financially very healthy. And since of that, we don’t need to make selections between investing in technology or investing in our shareholders. In the course of the holidays, we went to premium pay, we offered gratitude pay, we did gestures of fine will for our employees, identical to for our customers.

How do you regain the trust of your customers?

We’ve got a 51-year history of operating a very good airline and having terrific service. That didn’t change simply because we had this event.

That doesn’t dismiss the proven fact that we tousled. I feel one of the best thing that we are able to do is use this event as a catalyst to be even higher. That is a terrific company, but one of the best thing we are able to do for our customers is proceed to supply a terrific product, spend money on our product. You’ve seen us do all those things — we’re adding power ports and bigger bins. Keep investing in them, keep running a terrific operation, keep providing terrific hospitality and be even higher.

Are you able to help us understand once you knew things were going really fallacious around Christmas?

We plan days and days upfront for storms, hurricanes — all those things. We watch the operation day-after-day; our leaders are on many calls a day just to know how we’re doing. I’m on multiple calls a day, on a standard day. All that was occurring.

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