Southwest Airlines Begins to Struggle Against Pre-Pandemic Numbers

Southwest Airlines.
Photo Credit: Karam Sodhi/AviationSource

LONDON – As we enter February, Southwest Airlines begins to struggle against pre-pandemic flight movement numbers following its IT meltdown late last year.

Based on data provided by, the airline started off 2023 strong and has begun to reduce in numbers, placing it behind its pre-pandemic figures of the past.

Without further ado, let’s get into the numbers from Southwest Airlines…

The Numbers…

Data provided by

For January 29-February 5, the airline recorded 3,298 movements, which represents an increase of 8.06% compared to the same period last year.

Compared to the same period in 2019, the airline is currently chasing around 262 movements to be level with pre-pandemic figures.

Below is the whole of January’s data for Southwest Airlines:

Date2019 Numbers2022 Numbers2023 NumbersPercentage Difference (2023 vs. 2022)
January 1-83546 movements2746 movements3688 movements+34.30%
January 8-153481 movements2970 movements3582 movements+20.61%
January 15-223533 movements3232 movements3615 movements+11.85%
January 22-293244 movements3208 movements3600 movements+12.22%

What we can see from that four-week period of data is that the airline’s percentage increases are decreasing steadily.

Whilst it is still a positive sign that the airline is still operating more flights, you can see that the January 29-February 5 statistics highlight the return into the trail for pre-pandemic figures.

Southwest Airlines’ Struggles Continue…

Photo Credit: Karam Sodhi/AviationSource

The strong four weeks in January would have been welcomed by the airline, but not in the context of its recent quarterly financial results.

In fact, it recently experienced its worst-ever fourth-quarter loss due to an operational shutdown that left thousands of passengers stranded.

The company had planned on making $1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2022 but instead reported a loss of $220 million due to technical failure and bad weather.

The IT meltdown at Southwest Airlines caused the company to lose between $300-350 million in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Most of the loss was due to the airline having to cancel more than 2,500 flights and refund customers.

In the wake of its much-publicized IT meltdown last month, Southwest Airlines is taking a number of steps to prevent another such event from happening.

First and foremost, the airline is beefing up its IT infrastructure, including increasing redundancy and making other improvements. It is also conducting a thorough review of all of its systems and processes to identify any potential weaknesses.

In addition, Southwest is working to improve communication between its various departments in order to better coordinate in the event of an issue.

And finally, the airline is increasing its training for employees on how to deal with potential IT problems.

By taking these steps, Southwest Airlines is hoping to avoid another operational meltdown and keep its operations running smoothly.


Photo Credit: Karam Sodhi/AviationSource

It remains clear that Southwest Airlines has a lot of work to do if it intends to end the first quarter of 2023 on a high note.

All eyes will be on the airline to see whether it can turn around the fourth-quarter loss or whether this will be a chain reaction that could produce a bad first half of the year for the airline.

For now, we will wait to see what happens at the airline.

By James Field - Editor in Chief 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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