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Southwest Airlines cancels more flights as it recovers from second technical issue this week

CNBC logo CNBC 6/15/2021 Leslie Josephs
  • Southwest canceled more flights as it recovers from a second technical issue in two days.
  • The airline is investigating the issue and said the two problems don't appear to be related.
  • Southwest said operations had resumed by midafternoon Tuesday.
a large passenger jet flying through a blue sky: Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 takes off from Hollywood Burbank Airport on September 16, 2020 in Burbank, California. © Provided by CNBC Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-7H4 takes off from Hollywood Burbank Airport on September 16, 2020 in Burbank, California.

Several hundred more Southwest Airlines flights were canceled or delayed on Wednesday as the carrier scrambled to recover from its second technical problem this week.

The airline said Tuesday afternoon it had resolved a connectivity issue that prompted it to cancel more than 500 flights, about 15% of its schedule. On Wednesday, more than 260 flights, about 7% of its schedule, were canceled and more than 300 were delayed, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.

"While our technology issues from Tuesday have been resolved, we are still experiencing a small number of cancelations and delays across our network as we continue working to resume normal operations," Southwest spokesman Dan Landson said in a statement Wednesday.

Southwest said it is investigating the issue and doesn't have reason to believe it's connected to Monday's problem with a weather data supplier that delayed hundreds of flights.

The Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday had issued a brief, nationwide ground stop for Southwest, which prevents its flights from taking off to avoid overwhelming destinations.


Video: Southwest Airlines disrupted by technology problems for 2nd day in a row (TODAY)

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More than 1,690 Southwest flights were delayed Tuesday, close to half of the carrier's schedule, according to FlightAware.

On Monday, 1,541 Southwest flights, about 41% of its schedule, were delayed, according to the site.

The airline said that its operations on were disrupted Monday evening after its "third-party weather provider experienced intermittent performance issues" but told employees earlier Tuesday that it was in "relatively good shape" as operations resumed.

The issues occurred just as airlines like Southwest are flying an increasing number of travelers as demand rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic.

Carriers are grappling with a surge in customers along with employee reductions after they offered buyouts and other packages to cut costs in the pandemic. Southwest, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines, for example, have warned travelers about long hold times for customer service and encouraged them to use self-service options.

While Southwest's issue Tuesday appeared to have only briefly impacted its systems, longer-lasting technology issues or outages can be costly. Delta estimated an August 2016 data center outage that led to about 2,300 cancelations over three days cost it about $150 million in pretax income that quarter.

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