Airline cuts service to multiple airports following Boeing delays

Southwest also expects to cut 2,000 employees by the end of 2024

Katie Hawkinson
Friday 26 April 2024 15:27 BST
Southwest drops service to four airport after citing Boeing delivery delays

Southwest Airlines is cutting service to four airports after citing issues with aircraft manufacturer Boeing.

The announcement comes after “disappointing” profits in the first quarter of 2024, according to Bob Jordan, president and CEO of Southwest Airlines. In a statement to investors, Mr Jordan cited ongoing delivery delays by Boeing.

“The recent news from Boeing regarding further aircraft delivery delays presents significant challenges for both 2024 and 2025,” Mr Jordan said. Soon after that statement, the CEO appeared on CNBC to clarify, “the network actions really have nothing to do with the Boeing delay.”

Southwest Airlines is cutting service to four airports after aircraft delivery delays from Boeing
Southwest Airlines is cutting service to four airports after aircraft delivery delays from Boeing (AFP via Getty Images)

The impacted airports are George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Texas, Syracuse Hancock International Airport in New York, Bellingham International Airport in Washington and Cozumel International Airport in Mexico.

These delays come as Boeing reduces production to address safety and manufacturing concerns.

These concerns found a national spotlight in January when a door plug fell off a Boeing plane mid-flight. While there were no major injuries, passengers were left shaken up. Three of those on board even sued the airline.

A Boeing whistleblower then testified to Congress about several safety concerns earlier this month.

Sam Salehpour, a current quality engineer for the manufacturer, told a congressional committee that Boeing has a “culture of retaliation” when employees speak up about their concerns.

When asked if the planes are safe, Mr Salehpour testified: “It’s like an earthquake. When that hits the building ... [it has] to be prepared to accommodate that type of shake-up... Right now, from what I’ve seen, the airplanes are not being billed per spec, and per requirements.”

Boeing CFO Brian West addressed the manufacturing delays last month at the Bank of America Industrials Conference.

“We are in regular, very transparent communications and they know precisely where we stand and the progress that we’re making and we, at the same time, have to understand what their needs are as they think about their flight schedules and their passengers,” Mr West said.

On top of cutting service, Southwest Airlines also plans to eliminate 2,000 jobs by the end of the year, Mr Jordan told investors.

At the same time, the airline’s flight attendants ratified a new contract, securing a one-third pay increase over four years. The agreement marks a win for airline employees as the industry continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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