Southwest Airlines hasn’t been a stranger to organizational dysfunction over the past year. Most will recall Southwest’s mass cancellation of over 16,000 flights in late December provoked by a “once-in-a-generation” winter storm and inadequate staffing software. The most recent episode for the low-cost carrier occurred this morning as hundreds of flights were delayed for what Southwest has described as “intermittent technology issues.”
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Earlier today, Southwest Airlines requested that the Federal Aviation Administration order a nationwide ground stop of all low-cost carrier’s flights. The FAA has since stated to CNN that the ground stop has been lifted at every airport except for Love Field in Dallas, Texas. However, the order has wreaked havoc on Southwest’s scheduling. Almost 2,500 Southwest flights, or 30 percent of the carrier’s schedule, have been delayed, according to FlightAware.
It is unclear precisely why Southwest made such a disruptive request to the FAA. Upon resuming operations, the carrier released a statement reading:
“Southwest has resumed operations after temporarily pausing flight activity this morning to work through data connection issues. We offer our heartfelt apologies to Customers whose journey with us today might be delayed.”
During the stoppage, the low-cost carrier has been replying to complaints on social media with a response stating, “We have had to implement a ground stop as a result of intermittent technology issues that were experienced, and we should hopefully be resuming our operation as soon as possible.”
After the December 2022 meltdown, Southwest Airlines promised to invest billions of dollars into its IT infrastructure to ensure a similar crisis wouldn’t happen again. Though, today’s ground stop has shown that it might be a rough ride until the new systems are fully implemented.