Southwest CEO maps out a recovery after holiday meltdown: 'We have work to do'
- Southwest said it canceled about 16,700 flights between Dec. 21 through Dec. 31.
- The airline estimates the meltdown will drive it to a loss and hit its pretax earnings by up to $825 million.
- CEO Bob Jordan is focused on making amends with affected customers and ensuring a similar crisis never happens again.
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A Southwest Airlines traveler looks for her baggage in a pile of lost suitcases after an arctic blast and a massive winter storm dubbed Elliott swept over much of the United States in the lead-up to the Christmas holiday weekend, at Chicago Midway International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, December 27, 2022.
Kamil Krzaczynski | Reuters
Southwest CEO Bob Jordan's message, after a holiday meltdown derailed the travel plans of millions, is clear: "I can't say it enough. We messed up."
His focus now is ensuring a similar crisis never happens again. The airline has hired consulting firm Oliver Wyman to review its processes, interview staff and union members, lay out what went wrong, and how to avoid it in the future. The low-cost airline is working with General Electric to improve the capabilities of software that helps Southwest work out crew reassignments. The airline's board has created an operations review committee to help managers work through such events.
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