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Southwest Airlines trims flights again to manage staffing crunch

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A Southwest Airlines Co. Boeing 737 passenger jet arrives at Midway International Airport (MDW) in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Monday, Oct. 11, 2021.
Luke Sharrett | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines on Thursday reported a third-quarter profit on Thursday thanks to a boost from federal payroll aid but said operational problems from understaffing for the aggressive growth it planned hurt its bottom line.

Dallas-based Southwest earlier this month canceled more than 2,000 flights between Oct. 8 and Oct. 13, blaming the issues on bad weather in Florida, air traffic control compounded by staffing shortages.

Southwest said the disruptions cost it $75 million from cancellations, customer refunds and “gestures of goodwill.”

Here’s how Southwest performed in the second quarter compared with what Wall Street expected, based on average estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted results per share: a loss of 23 cents versus an expected loss of 27 cents.
  • Total revenue: $4.68 billion versus expected $4.58 billion.

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