Southwest Airlines said that the rest meltdown would beat fourth-quarter effects

Southwest Airlines predicted a fourth-quarter problem.

Southwest Airlines’ holiday breakdown will “certainly” reach its fourth-quarter results, executives stated, adding that it will take several weeks to work through affected travellers’ reimbursement requests.

The systemwide problems stranded hundreds of thousands of customers more than the rest week and drew scrutiny from Washington.

The low-cost airline slashed schedules more the previous several days, flying about one-third of its planned flights, in a sheer effort to stabilize its operation and get aircraft in the crew where they need to go.

Southwest said it expects to operate a regular schedule on Friday. According to FlightAware, it cancelled 39 flights scheduled for Friday, down from over 2,300 on Thursday.

“We have all rights on deck and tested solutions to support the restored operation. I am confident, but I’m cautious,” CEO Bob Jordan said in a staff memo Thursday.

The airline resumed selling tickets for Friday, the following pause it implemented before it stabilized its schedule, stating that Jordan, an over three-decade Southwest veteran, became CEO in February.

Southwest’s operation unravelled over the holiday week following brutal winter weather swept all over the U.S. When most airlines had recovered in the previous week, Southwest’s problems worsened. Executives cited challenges, which include overloaded internal scheduling platforms crucial to getting crews into flights.

Executives on Thursday promised to improve crew scheduling platforms and stated that modernization efforts were already underway but noted such projects in the coming years.

On Thursday, on a call with reporters, Chief Commercial Officer Ryan Green added that there “will certainly be an affecting to the fourth quarter.”

But executives refused to estimate how much the disruptions would cost the airline. A similar incident in October cost the airline $75 million, and the carrier said last year. Still, this event lasted longer, with more travellers flying due to the holidays and sharply higher prices.

The carrier expected quarterly revenue to increase by 17% over 2019 when it brought in $6 billion.

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