Southwest Airlines is a Dallas based airlines that has been a part of the airlines market for quite some time now and had been doing well till the pandemic hit and disrupted the airline industry itself with the imposition of lockdowns, travel bans, etc.
To Be CEO Of Southwest Airlines Ready To Take Measures To Cut Flights In Case Of Staff Shortage
But the biggest problem for Southwest airlines has been the shortage of staff. During a summer peak, while on its path to recovery, thousands of workers took buyouts and leaves of absence, thus leaving the airlines short staffed which led to various flight disruptions and customer dissatisfaction.
To add to this problem of being short staffed, there were also weather problems that ultimately led to a lot of cancellations and delays.
The airlines, to be CEO, Mr. Bob Jordan has vowed that such a situation will never be repeated. The airlines would manage it resources in a better way and make the best out of them rather than not living upto the promised expectations. They have a goal to hire around 5,000 workers this year and have already trimmed the 2021 schedule in order to avoid service shortfalls. The pandemic had already affected their revenues just like that of other airlines, but the staff shortage and cancellations further affected their reputation apart from the already affected revenue recovery plans.
Jordan said that they are planning and taking measures to avoid what this summer in the peak season. They have a set criteria and revenue targets to meet, but if they feel that the staff is running short and that they are not able to hire as per their requirements, they will make amends to the already planned schedule by having a plan B in case things don’t go their way.
The airline has raised the starting pay to $15 an hours and has been handing out bonuses like retention bonus, referral bonus, etc to meet their requirements and has been providing additional pay for its employees who are working in markets with high living costs.
Bob Jordan takes over the company from Gary Kelly in February and his main focus after taking over the reigns is hiring, which has been an issue so far. Currently the carrier has 56,000 employees and the management plans to bring in another 8,000 as the functioning hasn’t been smooth sailing in recent times.
Jordan feels that the company would be able to fill the vacancies but has said that the competition is brutal. Employers in the retail and airlines sector have been unable to gather workforce in recent times, and thus are trying to attract people with higher pay and bonuses. The number of applicants has also gone down in recent times while things are getting back on track with the flight bookings. The holiday season is likely to be busy and the airlines sector is recovering well post the delta wave.
The various airline companies in the market including Southwest have also taken initiatives to get their staff vaccinated. While vaccine mandates are being issued by various companies, Jordan feels that providing incentives rather than mandates is a better method. Southwest is offering 2 days of pay for employees who upload proof of vaccination. On the contrary United Airlines and Delta Airlines have stricter policies for vaccination which includes surcharge on health insurance and even termination.
The rate of fully vaccinated employees in Southwest Airlines is around 65% which mirrors the national average. Jordan says providing incentives must just take the rate further up. He feels that vaccination is a personal and emotional issue so its better that the employees have a choice for it. But keeping in mind the importance of getting vaccinated, Southwest airlines aims at better vaccination rates through incentives.