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- Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights last Christmas due to an intense winter storm.
- CEO Bob Jordan told Bloomberg that carrier is “absolutely ready” to avoid a repeat this year.
- It’s created a “disruption pod” of company leaders and updated its technology.
The CEO of Southwest Airlines told Bloomberg he is determined to avoid a repeat of the carrier’s woes last December.
“We are ready for the winter, absolutely ready,” Bob Jordan told the outlet.
The world’s largest low-cost airline lost $1.2 billion as a result of travel chaos during the previous festive holiday period, and executives’ pay was cut as a result, per Bloomberg.
“It was an ugly week. But that week does not define Southwest Airlines,” Jordan told Bloomberg.
He added that while there was some short-term damage to the airline’s reputation, there’s “no indication” that it has caused customers to continue avoiding Southwest.
One passenger flying from Los Angeles to Denver previously told Business Insider how his 2½-hour flight ended up taking 41 hours after he rented a car instead due to Southwest’s chaos.
And Southwest passengers stranded in Nashville were threatened with arrest after a police officer said their tickets were no longer valid due to cancellations.
An estimated 2 million people received airline miles from the carrier as a result, meaning Southwest gave away as many as 50 billion airline miles.
Its 66,000 workers also received bonus points worth around $400 as Jordan apologized.
Southwest has since created a “disruption pod” of company leaders and other workers who will respond to sudden issues like storms or hurricanes, per Bloomberg.
It’s also added de-icing trucks, trained new workers, and improved early warning systems for any potential problems, Bloomberg reported.
Southwest did not immediately respond to BI’s request for comment, sent outside US working hours.