Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan speaks during his interview with CNBC outside the New York Stock Exchange on December 9, 2021.
Brendan McDiarmid | Reuters
With the peak Christmas travel season just days away, Southwest Airlines’ CEO vowed the carrier would not repeat last year’s meltdown that stranded thousands of customers and cost the airline more than $1 billion.
“It will never happen again,” Bob Jordan said at an event Thursday at the Wings Club in New York.
Last year, Southwest canceled nearly 17,000 flights over the crucial Christmas and New Year holiday period, as it failed to recover from severe weather that swept through much of the country. Rival carriers were also affected but recovered more quickly.
Southwest struggled with staffing problems as storms left flight attendants and pilots out of position for their next flights, thousands of passenger bags piled up and planes were delayed in de-icing.
The carrier stores snow removal and other winter weather equipment to prepare for the season year-round. It also updated the technology.
“Winter is not going to be perfect,” Jordan said. But he added that the airline is prepared for the season, pointing to a quick recovery after heavy October snowfall at its main airport in Denver.
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