The embattled Southwest Airlines plans to return to normal operations on Friday with minimal disruption, according to a company statement.
“While Southwest continues to operate approximately one-third of its schedule as of Thursday, December 29, we plan to return to normal operations with minimal disruption on Friday, December 30,” the statement said.
“We are encouraged by the progress we have made in realigning the crew, their schedules, and our fleet. With another holiday weekend filled with important connections for our valued customers and employees, we can’t wait to get back to a state of business as usual.”
The company also apologized to its customers and employees.
“We know that even our deepest apologies, to our customers, to our employees and to everyone affected by this outage, only go so far.”
The airline has said it would fly only a third of its schedule on the busy days after Christmas. Thousands of flights have been canceled this week frustrating customers who have struggled to find new flights and alternative ways to travel.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Tuesday his department will investigate Southwest Airlines’ scheduling system after thousands of canceled flights angered passengers across the country.
Southwest canceled 70% of its flight schedule on Monday and Tuesday.
Southwest canceled more than 2,500 flights Wednesday, 61% of its flights, according to the flight tracking website, reported flight. The airline canceled more than 2,300 flights on Thursday, representing 58% of its flight schedule.
“This clearly crossed the line from what is an uncontrollable weather situation to something that is the direct responsibility of the airline,” Buttigieg said Tuesday in an interview on “NBC Nightly News.”
Buttigieg said Southwest was committed to taking care of affected customers and that the Department of Transportation will hold the airline accountable for it.
“At the very least, there should be cash refunds for canceled flights, and they should take care of passengers where they got stuck: with meals, with hotels, with compensation,” Buttigieg said.