As Hurricane Sandy began to take shape over the weekend, so did the Weather Disruption Task Force at Southwest Airlines. This is a team of our Operational Leaders that meet to discuss the impact that the storm could have on our Operation, our Customers, and our Employees. The Team meets several times a day to review current status and forecast (with our team of in-house meteorologists) what the next steps will be to get back to a full operation.
As of today (Tuesday, Oct. 30) at noon CDT, the WDTF is reporting that conditions are improving across most of the region, and Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways anticipate returning to normal operations by midday Wednesday, October 31 across most of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, with the exception of airports nearest the center of the NY/NJ area: New York La Guardia (LGA), Newark Liberty International (EWR), Philadelphia International (PHL), and Long Island MacArthur (ISP). We are still evaluating damage incurred by Hurricane Sandy in those areas. Affected Customers continue to be contacted and offered options to change their travel plans.
Southwest has canceled a total of nearly 1300 flights from Sunday evening through midday Wednesday. AirTran Airways has canceled a total of nearly 400 flights from Sunday evening through midday Wednesday. To provide context, Southwest Airlines was scheduled to operate more than 3200 flights across the Country each weekday this week; AirTran Airways currently has a published systemwide flight schedule of nearly 600 flights a day.
Here are some behind-the-scenes photos of the morning meeting of the WDTF: