Southwest Will Close Operations at 4 Airports

By: Beth Moreton | Published: May 02, 2024

Southwest is one of the most used airlines in the southwest of the US, transporting passengers to and from many destinations.

After having a significant loss that has limited the company’s ability to hire and retain staff, Southwest has made the difficult decision to close its operations at four different airports.

Southwest Had a Quarter Loss of Millions of Dollars

In the first quarter of 2024, Southwest faced a loss of $231 million.

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A Southwest Airlines plane taking off from an airport runway. The plane is blue and has red and orange on its tail and wings. “Southwest” is written in white across the body.

Source: Miguel Ángel Sanz/Unsplash

This has affected their ability to order new Boeing planes and hire and retain staff.

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Southwest Will Have Slower Growth Over 2024 and 2025

Southwest’s President and CEO, Bob Jordan, has said the losses are “disappointing,” but that Southwest plans to adjust.

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A close-up image of a Southwest Airlines jet. The plane is parked on an airport runway with stairs leading up to it. The plane is blue and has red and orange on its tail and wings.

Source: Owen Lystrup/Unsplash

However, he has also predicted that the company will grow slower than normal throughout the rest of 2024 and into 2025, which could be catastrophic.

Southwest Will Lose 2000 Employees

With the predicted slow growth and the quarterly loss so far in 2024, Southwest is set to lose 2000 employees in 2024.

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A Southwest Airlines plane is coming into land. The plane is blue and has red underneath it and on the tail.

Source: Trac Vu/Unsplash

The airlines company plans to limit the amount of hiring it does throughout the year and offer voluntary time off programs.

Airports Used by Southwest That Are Affected

It is expected that Southwest will close operations at four different airports across the US.

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A Southwest Airlines plane in the sky. The plane is blue and has red and orange on the tail and wings.

Source: Nick Morales/Unsplash

The airports said to be affected are Cozumel International Airport in Mexico, Syracuse Hancock International Airport in New York, Bellingham International Airport in Washington state, and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

Southwest Is Reducing Flights at Airports

Southwest is closing operations at some airports and is planning on reducing the number of flights at others.

An aerial view of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Planes are parked on the runway, and lights are lit at the airport.

Source: Harrison Keely/Wikimedia Commons

The airports that will be affected by this are Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

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Southwest Airlines Has Had Issues Before

The airline’s operations closure at four airports is the latest in a line of issues.

A Southwest Airlines plane parked on a runway. The plane is blue and has orange and red on the tail and wings. “Southwest” is written in white across the body of the plane.

Source: Miguel Ángel Sanz/Unsplash

Southwest Airlines suffered its first fatality back in 2018, which, at the time, was after 47 years of operating.

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The Issue Between Southwest and Boeing

One reason Southwest is losing money is because it only uses Boeing planes.

A Southwest Airlines plane flying in the air. The plane is blue and has red and orange on the tail and wings. “Southwest” is written in white across the body of the plane.

Source: Samantha Gades/Unsplash

Boeing planes have had many issues in recent months, with many passengers choosing to avoid flying on these planes, which has caused many problems for Southwest.

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Southwest Will Receive 20 Boeing Aircrafts

Despite the concerns with Boeing, Southwest still insists on using the aircraft; however, they will have a reduction in their use.

A Southwest Airlines plane coming into land. The plane is blue, with red and orange on the tail and underneath the plane. “Southwest” is written in orange on the tail.

Source: Trac Vu/Unsplash

Southwest initially expected to receive 46 Boeing aircraft in 2024, but this number has gone down by more than half to just 20 planes.

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Shares in Southwest Have Fallen

As a further blow to the company, shares in Southwest have fallen.

A Southwest Airlines plane taking off. The plane is blue and has red and orange on the tail and wings. “Southwest” is written in white across the body of the plane.

Source: Sven Piper/Unsplash

On April 27, the company’s shares fell by 7% and closed at $27.26.

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Southwest Passengers' Complaints About Seating

One aspect of flying Southwest that still doesn’t benefit customers is the seating.

The new seats on Southwest Airlines planes. The seats are grey and have small cushions on the headrests.

Source: @the_transit_guy/X

In an attempt to increase seating capacity on their aircraft, the company has received complaints from customers about how cramped the seating is. With customers unhappy, this could affect the number of people choosing to fly with the company and see its profits plunge further.

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Rising Costs Have Affected Southwest

The rising cost of resources, such as fuel, has led Southwest to close its operations at the four previously mentioned airports, and reduce operations at two.

A Southwest Airlines plane on an airport runway. The plane is blue with red and orange on the tail and underneath of the plane. “Southwest” is written in orange on the tail.

Source: Trac Vu/Unsplash

As the airline is wanting to deliver value to shareholders and the changing patterns in travel for its customers, these have all contributed to it closing operations. But whether any of this will help save the airline from suffering a further loss remains to be seen.

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