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Southwest Airlines Meltdown Prompts Questions From Big Investor

New York State Comptroller asks the carrier how it will prevent another widespread operations failure

Southwest Airlines Co.’s LUV -1.19%decrease; red down pointing triangle holiday meltdown has drawn the attention of a large public pension system with a history of shareholder activism.

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who oversees the state’s pension system, has asked the Dallas-based carrier how it will prevent another widespread operations failure and rebuild trust with the flying public and its own employees.

“Clearly this crisis has resulted in profound customer dissatisfaction and is expected to generate significant costs to the company,” Mr. DiNapoli, a Democrat, said in a letter Friday to Southwest Chief Executive Bob Jordan.

A Southwest spokeswoman said Monday that the airline received the Jan. 6 letter and is in the process of responding to the comptroller’s office.

Excerpt from WSJ
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Lawmakers Plan to Scrutinize Southwest Cancellations, Federal Airline Refund Policies

WASHINGTON—Federal lawmakers have signaled that they will investigate the mass flight cancellations by Southwest Airlines Co., with some Democrats suggesting the Transportation Department should be more aggressive at protecting passengers.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.), who leads the Senate’s committee on transportation issues, said in a statement this week that its members will look into what caused the cancellations and how consumers were affected.

“The problems at Southwest Airlines over the last several days go beyond weather,” Ms. Cantwell said.

The airline canceled nearly two-thirds of its flights Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, part of an effort to dig out from a cascading meltdown after last week’s severe winter storm threw it into disarray. While other airlines were able to recover from the brutal weather within a few days, Southwest continued to spiral.

Excerpt from WSJ
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