Southwest awaits Senate hearing on holiday crisis

John and Laurie Ingoldsby, who arrived in Denver after the cancellation of the first leg of their Southwest Airlines flight, wait for their flight to end at Denver International Airport on December 28, 2022 in Denver, Colorado.

Michael Siaglo | Getty Images

southwestern airlinesCOO Andrew Watterson next Thursday will face questions from a Senate panel over the carrier’s holiday crash, which has left hundreds of thousands of travelers stranded.

Southwest said the date for the hearing is in line with CEO Bob Jordan’s “prior commitment”.

Jordan, who has been CEO for a year, has pledged to win back travelers’ trust after a fiasco that resulted in an $800 million pre-tax loss last quarter and resulted in a loss.

Watterson plans to “use the opportunity to explain how we have taken action to remedy the situation for our customers following the Southwest outage in late December, and what we are doing to reduce the risk of this happening again,” the airline said in a statement. statement.

The incident drew intense attention from Washington and ended a year-long disruption to air travel due to bad weather, personnel and technology issues.

The carrier canceled more than 16,700 flights between Dec. 21 and Dec. 31 as crew planning software couldn’t keep up with multiple flight changes due to severe winter weather.

Senate Commerce Committee Hearing will also include testimony from Casey Murray, President of the Southwest Pilots Union; Sharon Pinkerton, Senior Vice President of Legislative and Regulatory Policy at Airlines for America, an industry group representing the nation’s largest airlines; Paul Hudson, president of consumer advocacy group Flyers’ Rights; and Clifford Winston, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, Washington D.C., chair of the committee, previously said she plans to hold a hearing on the disruption of flights following the travel chaos in the Southwest.

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