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Southwest Airlines to Invest over $1 Billion in IT Systems

Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan states that the airline is undertaking many steps to lessen the risk of future operational meltdowns, including a $1 billion investment in upgrading and maintaining its IT systems.

More than a dozen senators wanted answers from Southwest Airlines after its obsolete crew-scheduling technology became overwhelmed during the busy holiday season.

“The recent disruption will accelerate our plans to enhance our processes and technology as we continue to focus on adding capabilities to bring rapid improvements for you, our valued customers,” said CEO Bob Jordan.

This involves investing more than $1 billion of its annual operating budget for IT system investments, upgrades, and upkeep.

While Southwest has already “mitigated risks in the short term” to avoid further operational interruptions, Jordan stated in the letter. The company is now making additional efforts to “review the events and make thoughtful recommendations on future actions.”

Most carriers were back in service after the Christmas weekend winter storm passed. However, Southwest’s technology caused employees and planes to be out of position for an extended length of time. The carrier needed eight days to recover.

According to Jordan, the company is collaborating with Oliver Wyman, a third-party worldwide aviation consulting firm, “to complete an assessment of the event and make recommendations of additional mitigation elements for us to consider.”

The CEO, who took over less than a year ago, stated that the company’s board of directors also formed an operations review committee to help management grasp the problem and oversee the company’s response.

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