Oct 21, 2021 - Economy

Southwest Airlines lost $75 million amid mass flight cancellation

People awaiting at Southwest for more info on their flights

Customers waiting for information on their Southwest Flights in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Jacek Boczarski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Southwest Airlines announced on Thursday that flight cancellations this month cost the company $75 million.

Driving the news: The company said it will cut back on flights in December to avoid a similar situation happening again and will plan next year's schedule based on "more conservative staffing assumptions."

  • "We are aggressively hiring to a goal of approximately 5,000 new Employees by the end of this year, and we are currently more than halfway toward that goal," CEO and Chairman of Southwest Gary Kelly said in a release.

Southwest cancelled more than 1,000 flights in the span of a few days earlier this month due to "operational challenges."

  • The cancellations started with a bad weather issue in Florida but escalated due to staffing issues, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Details: The $75 million was a result of the cancellations, customer refunds, and "gestures of goodwill," per the press release.

  • Despite this their plans remain unchanged as far as their schedule for the rest of the month, citing "recent improvement in travel demand trends" that would offset any of the problems moving forward.

What they're saying: "[While] there are lingering effects from the summer COVID-19 surge and recent operational challenges, we are encouraged with renewed momentum in leisure and business traffic, revenues, and bookings—especially over the holidays," Kelly said.

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