Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Southwest Air Signals Jobs Risk With Plan for 30% Cut in Flying

A Southwest aircraft stands on the tarmac at San Francisco International Airport.
Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Southwest Airlines Co. expects flying capacity later this year to be down about 30% from 2019, potentially leaving the company overstaffed, Chief Executive Officer Gary Kelly said.

The carrier may be forced into the first involuntary furloughs in its 49-year history if travel demand doesn’t pick up more swiftly over the summer, Kelly said Friday in a video message to employees. Like its rivals, Southwest has offered employee leave programs after industry passenger totals tumbled as much as 95% from last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.