Southwest Airlines on Thursday reported a profit of $68 million for the last three months of last year as it struggled to address failures caused by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which has delayed the recovery. travel and is expected to drag the airline at a loss. the first three months of this year.
Now, with cases dropping, “the worst seems to be behind us,” said Bob Jordan, Southwest’s executive vice president, who will take over as chief operating officer next week. , said in a statement.
The company reported quarterly profits early last year, but the fourth quarter was the first quarter in two years that Southwest turned a profit without the backing of government aid. The airline received $2.7 billion in federal funding to help pay workers in 2021, helping lift it to a full-year profit of $977 million.
Despite quarterly profits, Omicron dealt a blow to Southwest and other companies late last year and last year, when high rates of worker sickness, combined with bad weather, forced carriers to cancel tens of thousands Christmas flight. and New Year’s holidays.
Southwest has been particularly hard hit, having canceled thousands of flights, or about 9% of scheduled trips, in the two weeks starting December 25. There was only one other US carrier. canceled more flights: SkyWest Airlines, which operates regional flights to several other carriers.
The problems continued this month. Southwest said it canceled more than 5,600 flights in January, costing $50 million in operating revenue for the month. Omicron also weighed in on ticket sales and led to an increase in customer cancellations. The airline is now expected to post a loss in the first three months of 2022.
“Despite our Q4 profit, we have had a challenging start to 2022 as we continue to recover from the pandemic,” said Jordan. He added that the airline has also prepared flight plans for the first half of the year to “provide additional buffer zones for operations”.
However, Southwest expects operating revenue for the first quarter of 2022 to fall only about 10 to 15 percent year-on-year in 2019. The airline also said it hopes to restore most of its network. its flight path and return to normal capacity by the end of the year. of next year.
Despite the challenges, Southwest hired about 5,000 people last year and expects to hire another 8,000 this year as tourism continues to recover. To stay competitive, the airline raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour on Aug. 1. It is in discussions with its unions to raise it again to $17. .
Southwest, one of the nation’s largest airlines, reported profits in the final quarter of last year. Delta Airlines lost more than 400 million dollarsUnited Airlines nearly 650 million dollars and American Airlines over $930 million. On Thursday, Alaska Airlines said it made $18 million in profit for the quarter, while JetBlue Airways posted a loss of $129 million.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/27/business/southwest-airlines-earnings-4q-2021.html Southwest Airlines Posts Quarterly profit $68 million