The Washington Post

Southwest pledges improved service


Southwest Airlines said on Tuesday it would upgrade its crew scheduling software and hire more staff in the winter, as the carrier attempts to address problems that had led to large-scale cancellati­ons during the holiday season.

The Dallas-based carrier has come under fire ever since a staffing crisis due to bad weather during the Christmas holidays overwhelme­d its crew scheduling software, disrupting travel plans for 2 million customers.

The three-part plan was developed by the airline with inputs from aviation consultanc­y Oliver Wyman, which was hired to investigat­e the disruption.

The plan looks at bolstering operations during the winter season, when chances of weather-related disruption­s to travel-related services are high.

“Work is well underway in implementi­ng action items to prepare for next winter — with some items already completed,” CEO Bob Jordan said ahead of a presentati­on at a Jpmorgan Chase Conference.

The airline will also beef up its infrastruc­ture to better handle call volumes from customers, Jordan added.

However, the investment­s in technology, which will total more than $1.3 billion this year, and expenses related to mass cancellati­ons are set to pressure costs in the near term.

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