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Southwest Airlines Fined Record Amount for Flight Disruptions


Southwest Airlines has been ordered to pay the largest-ever fine for flight disruptions, which occurred during last year’s holiday season. Despite this setback, investors seem optimistic about the outcome.

In premarket trading, the company’s stock rose by 0.8% following the announcement that it will be facing a $140 million fine for the booking breakdown that occurred in 2022. This fine is part of a global settlement reached with the Department of Transportation after Southwest was forced to cancel numerous flights due to a snowstorm, leaving passengers stranded.

Southwest Chief Executive Officer Bob Jordan reassured the public by stating, “It will never happen again. I promise you that.”

This $140 million penalty is 30 times larger than any other fine for consumer protection violations. The payment includes $35 million directly to the government and $33 million in frequent flier points. The overall financial impact on the airline resulting from the travel disruptions a year ago has exceeded $1 billion.

During the snowstorm, Southwest Airlines performed significantly worse than its competitors, prompting investigations. The company struggled to handle the severe weather conditions at key airports, resulting in frozen planes and inadequate communication between work groups.

Despite this setback, Southwest recently raised its revenue guidance for the fourth quarter due to strong holiday demand for flights. Although the company’s shares are currently trading 20% lower than they were a year ago, they have gained 15% in the past month.

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