Rep. Greg Stanton said that Congress must hold hearings for Southwest Airlines’ chief executive officer to explain why the airline has had two major episodes of flight cancellations within 14 months—leaving tens of thousands of travelers stranded in airports throughout the nation.
“Twice now over just 14 months, Southwest’s negligence has forced it to cancel an extraordinary number of flights and leave tens of thousands of passengers stranded without answers,” Stanton said. “It’s apparent failure to adequately prepare for or respond to foreseeable circumstances has created a paralyzing system-wide collapse. Southwest’s leadership, including CEO Robert Jordan, must explain to the American people and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee why it has failed to invest in its IT infrastructure, adequately staff airline operations, or to learn hard lessons from past challenges.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, two-thirds of Southwest flights nationwide were cancelled. At Phoenix Sky Harbor, one of Southwest’s busiest hubs, the airline cancelled more than 90 percent of its flights.
In October 2021, Southwest was forced to cancel thousands of flights over a four-day period—blaming a combination of bad weather, a brief problem with air traffic control in the Florida area and a lack of available staff to adjust to those problems.
At the time, then-CEO Gary Kelly indicated that adjustments had been made to prevent a similar situation in the future.
Stanton is the only Arizona member of Congress serving on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he also serves on the Aviation Subcommittee.