Airline Cancels 14,500+ Flights During Severe Winter Storms

Southwest Airlines’ large-scale flight schedule disruptions are not a weather-related issue, but a sign of a “system failure” within the company, according to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

In an interview posted by ABC News on Wednesday, Buttigieg said that the disruptions are past the point of only being wedding-related. He shared, “don’t get me wrong, all of this began with that severe storm. We saw winter weather affecting the country and severely disrupting all airlines.”

Weather-related incidents have killed at least 60 people across the country, NBC News reports.

Despite these setbacks, Buttigieg said other airlines and the rest of the aviation system appeared to be recovering from the weather disruptions.

In total, Southwest has canceled more than 14,500 flights since Friday. FlightAware reports that more than 2,500 Southwest Airlines flights were canceled as of Wednesday morning.

Airlines across the country canceled thousands of flights as a massive winter storm swept across the country before Christmas, but Southwest’s woes have deepened while other airlines have recovered.

By Tuesday, Southwest Airlines had already processed thousands of requests for reimbursement of travel-related expenses.

Bob Jordan, the airline’s CEO, apologized by video message to customers and employees for not upgrading the airline’s systems.

These cancellations also have a variety of financial repercussions. The stock of Southwest tumbled 6% on Tuesday and was down about 1.5% in morning trading on Wednesday. The cancellations are expected to affect profits in the fourth quarter, according to some analysts.