A passenger checks his luggage at the Southwest Airlines terminal at LAX.
Mel Melcon | Los Angeles Times Getty Images
Southwest Airlines customers have suffered hundreds of cancellations, delays and other disruptions this summer as carriers struggled with bad weather, snowfall problems and staff shortages.
Its next CEO, Bob Jordan, vowed not to repeat it. The airline has cut half the target of hiring 50,000 workers this year and has already cut back on the rest of the year to avoid further service shortages. The airline, and others like Spirit and Americans, embarked on a journey to manage an ambitious schedule to try to recover lost revenue during the epidemic last summer, but the lack of staff exacerbates operational problems.
Jordan said in an interview on Thursday, “The next question is the March schedule. We plan to meet it but if we can’t afford to rent to meet with us, we’ll go back and look at changing the schedule.” “What we’re not going to do is we won’t repeat last summer.”
Jordan, who took over from Gary Kelly in February and is a 33-year-old Southwest employee, told the Schift Global Forum in New York early Thursday that Carrier plans to add 10,000,000 employees next year. The Dallas-based airline has about 56,000 employees.
Hiring was a challenge.
“We’re pulling out every stop,” Jordan said. He said the airline initially raised salaries to 15 15 and was offering retention bonuses, referral bonuses and extra payments for certain markets, including the high cost of living in Denver.
Jordan said he was confident it could reach its goal of adding 5,000 workers this fall, but significant competition was fierce. From retailers to airlines to restaurants, employers are scrambling to fill jobs and lean towards bonuses and higher wages to attract workers.
In the case of the Delta-variant of the Covid-1 of, Southwest lost its third-quarter revenue outlook in August, citing weak bookings during the rise.
“Holiday bookings hold up really well,” Jordan said. “Looks like we’re behind this delta wave.”
Southwest and other airlines are trying to ensure their own employees are vaccinated against Covid-1. United Airlines has a strict policy: a clear order for its 1,000,000 U.S. employees, for which they must, without exception, face termination. Delta Airlines plans to impose a $ 200-monthly surcharge on unsecured workers on the company’s health insurance in November.
Southwest is currently offering incentives such as two-day pay for workers who upload proof of vaccination. Jordan told CNBC he would prefer to use the incentive and not issue a vaccine order.
“I know the subject of vaccines and orders is personal, it’s emotional but at the end of the day we need to vaccinate as many people as possible as a country, as a company,” he said. “I want to get there through motivation and encouragement and data rather than a mandate. I would love to have our staff.”
However, an official vaccine order for large employers and government contractors could change that. Southwest is suitable for both categories because it operates charter flights for government and other services.
“There’s a lot to learn about the rules,” he said.
Jordan said it was not yet clear what percentage of workers had been vaccinated but the new incentives would provide more information. He estimated that the company’s fully vaccinated employee rate reflects the national average, which is just over 64% of the U.S. population over the age of 12. .