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Southwest Airlines’ staffing, tech improvement plan after holiday mess


Travelers check in at a Southwest Airlines ticket counter throughout the busy Christmas holiday season at Orlando International Airport on December 28, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.

Paul Hennessy | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines‘ CEO said the corporate will increase winter staffing and equipment to assist avoid a repeat of mass cancelations over the year-end holidays that cost the corporate tens of millions of dollars and stranded tens of 1000’s of travelers.

In a filing ahead of an investor conference, Southwest said it continues to expect a loss in the primary quarter after a revenue hit of as much as $350 million resulting from the fallout of the vacation mess last 12 months, when it canceled greater than 16,000 flights throughout the last 10 days of 2022, drawing criticism from Washington.

Southwest said it expects unit costs, excluding fuel, to be up as much as 6.5% 12 months over 12 months this quarter, higher than a January forecast of a rise of not more than 4%.

The corporate will purchase more equipment to deice planes and bolster staffing levels. Bitter temperatures during a series of storms before Christmas last 12 months limited how much time crews were capable of spend outside, Southwest said.

The airline may also improve technology to raised predict how long deicing could take and has improved one in all its scheduling platforms to ensure adequate staffing for flights when things go improper.

“We understand the basis causes that led to the vacation disruption, and we’re validating our internal review with the third-party assessment. Now, we expect to mitigate the danger of an event of this magnitude ever happening again,” CEO Bob Jordan said in a news release. “Work is well underway implementing motion items to organize for next winter—with some items already accomplished.”

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