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Southwest To Cut More Flights, Lost Almost $75 Million During Last Round Of Cancellation

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Southwest Airlines announced Thursday that it would adjust its December flight schedule to adjust for ongoing labor shortages.

Southwest canceled over 2,000 flights on Oct. 10 and 11, costing the company over $75 million, according to Southwest’s Q3 earnings report.  The airline attributed the canceled flights to weather and air traffic control issues but later admitted to experiencing a labor shortage, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The airline expects to cut its Q4 flight schedule by 8% from 2019, compared to a 5% reduction the company initially planned for, according to the WSJ. The company also expects a decline in staffing compared to its historical average, according to its Q3 earnings report.

The company experienced a noteworthy drop in demand in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions, the WSJ reported. Despite the spread of the delta variant across the country, airlines have recently seen a significant increase in overall demand.

“While there are lingering effects from the summer Covid-19 surge and recent operational challenges, we are encouraged with renewed momentum in leisure and business traffic, revenues, and bookings—especially over the holidays,” Southwest said in its Q3 earnings report.

Airlines are still grappling with the current surge in fuel prices and labor shortages, according to the WSJ. Southwest said it is expecting a loss in Q4 due to inflation and airport costs.

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