Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines’ CEO, on What Went Wrong

Your unions say that for years, Southwest has been too targeted on buyers and hasn’t invested sufficient within the operation. What’s your response to that criticism?

I’ve been requested so much about whether or not we’ve got antiquated know-how. We spend a billion {dollars} a yr on know-how right here at Southwest. And, like each firm, there are all the time issues which are brand-new, like our upkeep system, and there are all the time issues that you just’re engaged on.

We have a very good operations enchancment plan. Crew scheduling is an enormous a part of that. If you simply look again on the final yr, we put, I feel, eight new variations of SkySolver in. We’ve employed 120 crew schedulers. We put management over crew scheduling and realigned ourselves. I’m not saying for a minute that we’re performed or that that’s sufficient.

On the shareholder query, it’s not a singular choice. We are financially very wholesome. And due to that, we don’t should make selections between investing in know-how or investing in our shareholders. During the vacations, we went to premium pay, we provided gratitude pay, we did gestures of fine will for our staff, similar to for our clients.

How do you regain the belief of your clients?

We’ve bought a 51-year historical past of working a very good airline and having terrific service. That didn’t change simply because we had this occasion.

That doesn’t dismiss the truth that we tousled. I feel the perfect factor that we are able to do is use this occasion as a catalyst to be even higher. This is a superb firm, however the perfect factor we are able to do for our clients is proceed to supply an awesome product, spend money on our product. You’ve seen us do all these issues — we’re including energy ports and bigger bins. Keep investing in them, preserve working an awesome operation, preserve offering terrific hospitality and be even higher.

Can you assist us perceive whenever you knew issues have been going actually unsuitable round Christmas?

We plan days and days upfront for storms, hurricanes — all these issues. We watch the operation on daily basis; our leaders are on many calls a day simply to grasp how we’re doing. I’m on a number of calls a day, on a traditional day. All that was occurring.

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