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Bob Jordan is now Southwest Airlines’ new CEO. Here’s what’s on his plate


CNBC interviews Bob Jordan, Southwest Airlines Vice President, outside of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), in New York City on December 9, 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Southwest AirlinesBob Jordan is now the company’s new CEO.

Jordan (61), took over Tuesday’s helm at Southwest. Jordan has 34 year experience in Southwest and managed a variety of initiatives such as the expansion of Southwest’s network and AirTran acquisition. Jordan’s career spans paper tickets and mobile boarding passes.

Gary Kelly is now the airline’s sixth chief executive officer in five decades. Kelly, now 66, has been the CEO of Dallas Airlines for 17+ years and is continuing to be executive chairman, as part of a succession plan announced last June.

Prices and labor costs

Jordan has many challenges. A profit-crimping increase in expenses, from fuel to salaries is one of them. strainedRelationships with workers, difficulties in hiring, slow returns on business travel and making sure the airline does not repeat expensive mistakes. operational meltdowns2020.

Brett Snyder, who was a manager at an airline and now manages the Cranky Flier website and travel service. Run a successful operation. That’s what matters to me.”

Southwest already has slowed down its growth plans.

Jordan stated that if we have to and I am not saying we will, then we’ll keep our capacity down because we can provide reliable operations for customers.” Jordan spoke to CNBC Tuesday.

According to him, Southwest cannot fly between 35-40 percent of the 730 aircraft it has. BoeingThe airline cannot afford enough personnel to operate 737 aircraft. The airline hopes to have a fleet of approximately 1,000 planes by the end of this year.

Southwest already has a plan to tackle some of its problems. They have raised minimum wages from $15 to $17 an hour in order to increase staffing. Jordan claims that Southwest plans to hire. 8,000 people this yearAfter losing thousands of workers last year, 5,000 people lost their jobs in 2009. the pandemicThe company requested that the employees be trained to help reduce their labor cost.

Unions representing its flight attendants and pilots are in negotiations with management. Both have expressed concern about fatigue due to the grueling work schedules, as well as being pushed around by changes in pandemic policies.

Casey Murray, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association president, said, “I have always respected Bob.” He represents over 9,000 Southwest Airlines aviators. “We’re cautiously optimistic that there will be a significant change within the company.”

Lyn Montgomery of TWU Local 556, the union representing flight attendants, called Jordan “approachable”.

“I hope he’s going to be more of a people person than a number cruncher,” she said.

Southwest has posted their first profit of the pandemicWithout government support in the final quarter. It expected a loss of 1.9% in its first quarter, as bookings fell and crews were sidelined. However, profits would be made for the entire year. Although its shares rose 0.9% during the previous 12 months, it is still lower than many of its closest rivals and much less than that of The Schwab. S&P 500It’s more that 20%.

Technology that works better

Jordan indicated that Jordan would not change the policy of the airline, nor will it charge for checked baggage.

He said, “There are many things just that won’t change.”

Jordan wants to do more. Jordan stated that the airline would invest in technology to benefit both employees and customers.

We’re planning to employ thousands, if not thousands. “They will have a different expectation about how they interact,” he stated. He said that a lot of this will be done through apps, so it is important to improve the employee experience.

The traveler is also looking for better technology, from onboard Wi-Fi that works to their advantage to self-service via smartphone apps.

He stated, “We’ll invest in all of those.”

Promotion from the inside

Typical of the airline industry, Jordan, who has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an MBA from Texas A&M University, was a longtime executive promoted to succeed Kelly from within the airline’s executive ranks, as boards typically value industry and company knowledge.

Fort Worth is just a short drive from Southwest’s Dallas headquarters. American AirlinesDoug Parker, CEO of an airline, was first appointed to the post less than 2 weeks before the attacks. Robert Isom is taking over as the president of the company.

Southwest’s CEO Gary Kelly recorded an ode to DFW-area rival, “The Last Year.”Friends in High PlacesParker was awarded a life achievement award by an industry group, “Friends in Low Places”, which is a parody on the song “Friends in Low Places”.

Parker wrote on Instagram that Gary is a fierce competitor, and they’ve fought for many decades against one another. However, he’s also an extremely good person who it’s hard to not like,” Parker said on Monday.