The CEO of Southwest Airlines issued a statement to customers with new details about actions the company is taking following the debacle in the last week of December.
The most notable new information that CEO Bob Jordan shared is that the company has created a board committee to review the company’s response during that time, and consultancy Oliver Wyman has been hired to assess the airline’s systems.
The actions are in response to several issues that led to nearly 16,000 cancellations, caused primarily by a lack of investment in back-end technology. Southwest said the incident could cost the company up to $825 million.
In the short term, the company is working on updating the crew recovery system, enhancing the crew communications tools, and establishing supplemental operational staffing
As Southwest has said, the company plans to spend about $1 billion on tech upgrades. The recent disruption will accelerate those plans, Jordan stated.
He also stated that, as of the end of last week, nearly all bags have been returned and nearly all refunds and reimbursements have been processed.
“We fell short of your expectations and the high standards we have of ourselves, and for that we are deeply sorry. It is our steadfast commitment to make the necessary changes to address the issues we faced and to regain your trust and confidence,” Jordan said in the statement.
The company is holding its quarterly earnings call next week, during which executives will likely further discuss the issue.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has said it is investigating the issue, and a group of U.S. senators sent a letter Friday demanding that Jordan answer questions about the incident.