Travelers at Baltimore Washington International airport deal with the impact of Southwest Airlines canceling more than 12,000 flights around the Christmas holiday weekend across the country and in Baltimore, Maryland, December 27, 2022.
Michael McCoy | Reuters
Southwest Airlines confirmed on Thursday that it expects to “return to normal operations with minimal disruptions” on Friday after the carrier’s systemwide meltdown stranded hundreds of thousands of customers over the Christmas holiday week and drew scrutiny from Washington.
The carrier cancelled 39 flights scheduled for Friday, according to FlightAware, down from more than 2,300 Thursday.
The low-cost airline slashed flight schedules over the last several days, flying just about one-third of its planned flights, in an desperate effort to stabilize its operation, getting planes and crews where they needed to go.
“With another holiday weekend full of important connections for our valued Customers and Employees, we are eager to return to a state of normalcy,” it said on its website.
Southwest’s operation unraveled over the holiday week after brutal winter weather swept across the U.S. When most airlines had recovered at the end of last week, Southwest’s problems worsened. Executives cited challenges including overloaded internal scheduling platforms crucial to getting crews matched with flights.
“We have much work ahead of us, including investing in new solutions to manage wide-scale disruptions,” Southwest said in its statement.
The airline’s stock has dropped more than 7% week to date.
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