Buttigieg: We will be holding Southwest Airlines accountable
Rep. Nancy Mace joins ‘Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street’ to discuss the recent Southwest Airlines meltdown and how Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg responded to the matter.
Southwest Airlines COO Andrew Watterson plans to tell the Senate Commerce Committee that the carrier didn't have "enough resiliency" in its operation when harsher-than-expected winter weather slammed "key airports."
Watterson is slated to speak in front of the Senate’s Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation during a Thursday hearing titled "Strengthening Airline Operations and Consumer Protections," which will review the causes and effects of recent air travel disruptions, including Southwest's December meltdown that led to nearly 17,000 canceled flights.
The carrier is facing lawsuits from passengers and its own shareholders regarding the disruption, which is being investigated by the Transportation Department.
In written testimony released ahead of the hearing, Watterson said the Texas-based carrier developed a plan, which included pre-canceling flights, "to reduce activity to an hourly rate that was consistent with our proven capabilities."
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES EXEC TO TESTIFY AT SENATE HEARING FOLLOWING TRAVEL MELTDOWN
However, the sub-zero temperatures, high winds and frozen precipitation "were worse than forecast" and "had a wide-ranging impact" on operations, especially at its Denver and Chicago Midway airports.
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES CO.
"It became clear that, with the storm severely disrupting our Denver and Chicago Midway stations concurrently, we did not have enough resiliency in our operation for the severe effect this winter event had on us," Watterson said in the written testimony.
Denver and Chicago Midway are two of Southwest's 11 crew bases where flight crews begin and end their duties. The two locations account for 25% of flight crews, Watterson said.