Southwest Airlines plans further measures to prevent another winter operations meltdown

Southwest will boost staff levels and add more de-icing trucks

Southwest Airlines said it plans to ramp up winter staff levels and increase the number of de-icing trucks it has on hand in order to avoid another catastrophic holiday meltdown.  

A Southwest Airlines passenger jet lands

A Southwest Airlines passenger jet lands at Chicago Midway International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, on December 28, 2022. The perfect storm of fierce snow squalls, howling wind and sub-zero temperatures forced the cancellation of thousands of flig ((Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images) / Getty Images)

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
LUV SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO. 29.06 +0.28 +0.97%

As part of its tactical plan to boost operation resiliency, Southwest said it will also invest in other technology improvements including upgrading its customer support services. 

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES PASSENGERS DETAIL ‘HORRIFYING’ FLIGHT DIVERTED IN CAROLINAS, SOME VOMITED IN 9-HOUR ORDEAL

In a Tuesday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the carrier said it expects to incur a revenue loss of about $300 million to $350 million in the first quarter of 2023 for the disruption in December that led to nearly 17,000 flights being scrapped. 

Southwest passengers search lost luggage

Travelers search for their suitcases in a baggage holding area for Southwest Airlines at Denver International Airport on December 28, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. More than 15,000 flights were canceled by airlines in the weeks after winter weather began (Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images / Getty Images)

The airline already reported a net loss of $220 million last quarter due to the operational disaster that cost the airline approximately $800 million and is now being investigated by the Transportation Department. 

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES RAISES WI-FI FEES FOR PASSENGERS WITH CONNECTING FLIGHTS

However, in the filing the company reiterated that the winter storm that rolled in right before Christmas was "more sudden and severe than it had predicted and thus had a greater than planned impact on station operations." 

Southwest customers by a grinch

Travelers wait in line for Southwest Airlines luggage services to recover their luggage after major service interruptions at Midway International Airport on Dec. 27, 2022.  (E. Jason Wambsgans/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images / Getty Images)

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

Last month, COO Andrew Watterson who told the Senate Commerce Committee that the sub-zero temperatures, high winds and frozen precipitation "were worse than forecast" and "had a wide-ranging impact" on operations, especially at its key airports in Denver and Chicago Midway.