Southwest Is Ending Service to 4 Airports

Airline has been hit hard by Boeing's problems
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2024 5:21 AM CDT
Southwest Is Ending Service to 4 Airports
A Southwest Airlines plane prepares to land at Midway International Airport in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)

Delays to delivery of Boeing aircraft have been "very painful," Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan said Thursday after the airline disclosed rising losses in the first quarter of this year. He said the company is "reacting and replanning quickly to mitigate the operational and financial impact." Jordan said the airline will end service to four airports in August. The four airports are Bellingham International Airport in Washington state, Cozumel International Airport in Mexico, Syracuse Hancock International Airport in New York, and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, though the airline will continue service to Houston's other airport, William P. Hobby Airport, CNN reports.

Southwest also plans to reduce services to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta. The airline has already halted hiring of workers including pilots and flight attendants, Bloomberg reports. It expects to end this year with 2,000 fewer employees than it had at the end of 2023. Southwest, which has an all-Boeing fleet, said it now expects only 20 new 737 Max 8 aircraft from the company this year, limiting its ability to add flights on its most profitable routes. Last month, it cut the prediction from 79 to 46.

Production at Boeing has slowed since a door panel blew out of an Alaska Airlines Max 9 in January and Southwest will retire fewer planes this year because of the shortage of new aircraft, the AP reports. Southwest execs said Thursday that the airline is looking at changes to boarding and seating to drive up revenue, but Chief Commercial Officer Ryan Green said charging for checked bags is not being considered. "People choose Southwest Airlines because we don't have bag fees," he said, per CNBC. (More Southwest Airlines stories.)

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