Four charts explaining the Southwest Airlines crisis

Funviralpark 1 year ago 0 4


An outburst of severe winter weather last week canceled thousands of Southwest Airlines flights and completely disrupted the flight system. It claims to have had little success. But experts say the Southwest turmoil is actually the culmination of problems that have been building up over the years.

The beleaguered airlines have canceled more than half of their normal flight schedules since Dec. 22, according to industry trackers FlightRadar24 and FlightAware, with about 87 of the flights canceled in the U.S. by late Wednesday. % came from the Southwest.

A dire situation that left passengers outraged caught my eye Government regulators expanded this week as other major airlines recovered from the extreme cold, ice and snow that hit much of the US over the holiday weekend.

The company apologized to passengers and employees for the daily cancellations and cut capacity by about two-thirds on Thursday, according to a CNN review of flight data.

This week’s meltdown isn’t the first time the company has found itself in this predicament. In October 2021, Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 of his flights in four days. Airlines have blamed bad Florida weather for part of the crisis, but Southwest has canceled flights far longer than its competitors.

But much of the Southwest’s turmoil may be the result of long-term problems unrelated to the weather.

Chief among them are outdated internal processes and information technology. According to Capt. Casey Murray, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, Southwest’s scheduling system hasn’t changed much since his 1990s.

Southwest also acknowledges its outdated infrastructure. In a memo obtained by CNN, CEO Bob Jordan told employees that he had “a lot of conversations about modernizing operations and the need to do so.”

Over the years, airline cancellation rates have gradually increased, tripling between 2013 and September 2022. This is the latest data available from the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, which tracks airline performance, well before the recent crisis.

The agency has only released data from 2022 through September. To ensure a fair comparison, CNN only analyzed carrier data from January through September of the previous year.

Cancellation rates between airlines fluctuate each year depending on weather and other factors such as Covid-19, which wreaked havoc across the industry early in the 2020 pandemic.

But Southwest Airlines consistently underperforms its competitors in terms of cancellations, according to agency data.

Data show that for several years in the last decade, the airline had a higher cancellation rate compared to other major airlines.

Not just cancellations. Southwest Airlines has also seen its on-time performance decline over the years, dropping to its lowest level in a decade. By September 2022, well before the airline’s current struggles, only about 7 out of 10 flights had arrived on time.

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