Southwest Airlines said in a statement that it plans to resume normal operations on Friday with minimal disruptions.
“While Southwest continues to operate at roughly one-third of its scheduled capacity on Thursday, December 29, we expect to resume normal operations with minimal disruptions on Friday, December 30,” the company said in a statement.
“The progress we’ve made in realigning crew, their schedules, and our fleet is encouraging. We are eager to return to normalcy after another holiday weekend filled with important connections for our valued customers and employees.”
In addition, the company apologised to its customers and employees.
“We understand that our deepest apologies — to our customers, to our employees, and to everyone affected by this disruption — can only go so far.”
The airline has stated that it will only fly one-third of its scheduled flights in the busy days following Christmas. Thousands of flights have been cancelled this week, causing customers to scramble to find new flights and alternative modes of transportation.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Tuesday that his department will investigate Southwest Airlines’ scheduling system after thousands of flights were cancelled, infuriating passengers across the country.
Southwest cancelled 70% of its scheduled flights on Monday and Tuesday.
According to the flight tracking website FlightAware, Southwest cancelled over 2,500 flights on Wednesday, accounting for 61% of its total flights. On Thursday, the airline cancelled over 2,300 flights, accounting for 58% of its total flight schedule.
“This has clearly crossed the line from an uncontrollable weather situation to something that is directly the airline’s responsibility,” Buttigieg said on “NBC Nightly News” on Tuesday.
Buttigieg stated that Southwest has committed to providing assistance to affected customers and that the Transportation Department will hold the airline accountable.
“At the very least, there should be cash refunds for cancelled flights, and they should be taking care of passengers who are stuck — with meals, with hotels, with compensation,” Buttigieg said.