‘I’m truly sorry’: Southwest CEO offers apology after thousands of cancellations

In a video statement Tuesday, the CEO of Southwest offered an apology to travelers after the airline canceled thousands of flights over the busy holiday weekend.

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“I’m truly sorry,” CEO Robert Jordan said in a video posted to Southwest’s website. “I want everyone who is dealing with the problems we’ve been facing, whether you haven’t been able to get where you need to go or you’re one of our heroic employees caught up in a massive effort to stabilize the airline, to know that we’re doing everything we can to return to a normal operation.”

In the video, Jordan blamed the bitter cold that accompanied a winter storm that impacted most of the United States for hampering operations. “Our network is highly complex, and the operation of the airline counts on all the pieces, especially aircraft and crews remaining in motion to where they’re planned to go. … After days of trying to operate as much of our full schedule across the busy holiday weekend, we reached a decision point to significantly reduce our flying to catch up.”

U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the airline had “melted down” on Tuesday and pledged to hold the airline accountable.

“I made clear that our department will be holding them accountable for their responsibilities to customers, both to get them through this situation and to make sure that this can’t happen again.”

More than half of the 5,102 flight cancellations reported within, into or out of the United States on Tuesday were Southwest flights, according to FlightAware.

Passengers won’t see relief from Southwest soon: the airline canceled 2,500 flights for Wednesday and nearly 1,400 for Thursday, The Associated Press reported.

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