© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A Southwest Airlines jetliner lands at Chicago Midway International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., December 27, 2022. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski/File Photo
By Rajesh Kumar Singh
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Southwest Airlines (NYSE:) Co is working on a series of updates and upgrades to its technology to avoid a repeat of the operational disruption the airline suffered in late December, a top executive said on Monday.
The Dallas-based carrier’s technology has been in focus ever since it suffered an operational meltdown that resulted in almost 17,000 flight cancellations around the Christmas holiday last year, disrupting travel plans for two million customers.
“December was a moment in time in our 51-year history and we’re going to get through this,” Southwest’s Chief Information Officer Lauren Woods told Reuters in an interview.
“We’re going to continue to make really smart business decisions including our technology investment.”
Woods said General Electric (NYSE:) has added a new functionality to its crew-scheduling software to make it more resilient.
She said Southwest is working with the Boston-based industrial conglomerate for additional improvements to its crew scheduling system, and has plans to carry out more than 8 upgrades this year.
Southwest has said its crew scheduling software got overwhelmed after the winter storm in December, turning a weather event into a “crew scheduling event.”
Woods said the airline is also looking at replacing and upgrading flight planning and flight scheduling systems by 2025.