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Southwest Airlines vows to increase winter staffing and improve tech after holiday mess

Vacationers examine in at a Southwest Airways ticket counter throughout the busy Christmas vacation season at Orlando Worldwide Airport on December 28, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.

Paul Hennessy | Anadolu Company | Getty Pictures

Southwest Airlines‘ CEO mentioned the corporate will enhance winter staffing and gear to assist avoid a repeat of mass cancelations over the year-end holidays that value the corporate hundreds of thousands of {dollars} and stranded tens of 1000’s of vacationers.

In a submitting forward of an investor convention, Southwest mentioned it continues to expect a loss within the first quarter after a income hit of as a lot as $350 million ensuing from the fallout of the vacation mess final yr, when it canceled greater than 16,000 flights over the past 10 days of 2022, drawing criticism from Washington.

Southwest mentioned it expects unit prices, excluding gas, to be up as a lot as 6.5% yr over yr this quarter, larger than a January forecast of a rise of not more than 4%.

The corporate will buy extra gear to deice planes and bolster staffing ranges. Bitter temperatures throughout Winter Storm Elliott restricted how a lot time crews have been capable of spend outdoors, Southwest mentioned.

The airline may even enhance expertise to raised predict how lengthy deicing might take and has improved certainly one of its scheduling platforms to raised employees flights when issues go unsuitable.

“We perceive the basis causes that led to the vacation disruption, and we’re validating our inside overview with the third-party evaluation. Now, we anticipate to mitigate the chance of an occasion of this magnitude ever occurring once more,” CEO Bob Jordan mentioned in a information launch. “Work is nicely underway implementing motion gadgets to organize for subsequent winter—with some gadgets already accomplished.”

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