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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.

Go deeper

Hope King, author of Closer
Jan 10, 2022 - Economy & Business

Flight cancellations become the post-holiday norm

Expand chart
Data: FlightAware; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Massive air travel disruptions are the post-holiday norm.

Driving the news: Global airlines have canceled nearly 30,000 U.S. in- and outbound flights since Christmas Eve, data from FlightAware shows.

United Airlines: Employee deaths dropped to zero after vaccine mandate

Photo: Daniel Karmann/picture alliance via Getty Images

Since United Airlines' COVID-19 vaccine mandate went into effect last summer, no employee has died, CEO Scott Kirby said in a letter to employees.

Driving the news: Kirby said that prior to the vaccine mandate, "tragically, more than one United employee on average *per week* was dying from COVID,” but "we’ve now gone eight straight weeks with zero COVID-related deaths among our vaccinated employees."

31 mins ago - Health

Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific COVID vaccine

A health worker in Palestine preparing a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine on Jan. 24. Photo: Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech announced Tuesday that they have started clinical trials for a reformulated vaccine to protect against the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Why it matters: The rise of the Omicron variant has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines.