Incoming CEO at Southwest Air faces numerous challenges

Robert Jordan will inherit a long list of challenges when he becomes the sixth CEO of Southwest Airlines, which is struggling to recover from a pandemic that battered its finances and left it a much smaller company.

Southwest had never lost money over an entire year in its half-century history until 2020, when it lost $3 billion. The Dallas-based carrier is likely to have finished 2021 in the black — it will report results later this month — thanks to more than $1.1 billion in federal pandemic relief.

After thousands of employees left in 2020, staffing shortages contributed to high numbers of canceled and delayed flights on Southwest last summer and again in October. The airline is now on a hiring spree to catch up.

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