WASHINGTON, D.C. — Southwest Airlines recently promoted five executives following the airline’s mass cancellation crisis during holiday travel season — a sign the troubled airline has made no significant change from its recent greedy business decisions. Government watchdog Accountable.US has called the airline’s cancellation disaster a problem of its own making after slashing its workforce by over 1,400 in 2021 and choosing to spend $5.6 billion on stock buybacks in the 3 years leading up to the pandemic rather than making investments in infrastructure to be better prepared for extreme weather events. The airline even reinstated dividends last month, the first major airline to do so after the pandemic, while the company has stated it expects higher revenue in its 4th quarter earnings from sky-high fares.

One of Southwest Airlines’ own pilots recently offered a grim assessment: “What went wrong is that our IT infrastructure for scheduling software is vastly outdated. It can’t handle the number of pilots, and flight attendants that we have in the system with our complex route network.”

Southwest’s flight cancellation crisis was the result of the airline’s own poor planning and greedy business decisions – from mass worker layoffs to spending billions on handouts to wealthy investors rather than on better preparedness for weather emergencies. Adding insult to injury, Southwest thought its executives deserved a promotion after leaving thousands of its consumers in the lurch in the middle of peak holiday season travel. That's the behavior of a company with no intention of changing course from management decisions that seek to enrich shareholders while leaving consumers holding the bag. We hope that Congress investigates their failures and holds their executives accountable.”

Liz Zelnick, Director of Economic Security & Corporate Power
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