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Southwest says it lost $75 million over flight cancellations this month

Southwest says it lost $75 million over flight cancellations this month
In its earnings report Thursday, the budget carrier said the bulk of the $75 million cost came from customer refunds, lost revenue from the canceled flights and unspecified "goodwill gestures." File Photo by Larry W. Smith/EPA

Oct. 21 (UPI) -- Several days of delays and cancellations earlier this month ended up costing Southwest Airlines $75 million, the carrier showed in its earnings report on Thursday.

Southwest canceled about 2,000 flights over a four-day period this month due to, the airline said, disruptions related to weather, air traffic control and staffing difficulties.

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In its report on Thursday, the budget carrier said the bulk of the cost came from customer refunds, lost revenue from the canceled flights and unspecified "goodwill gestures."

Southwest reported net income of $446 million over the third quarter, which is more than many experts anticipated. The carrier warned that despite improving conditions, it expects a difficult fourth quarter.

"The company is encouraged by recent improvements in underlying revenue trends as COVID-19 cases have declined; however, the lingering effects from the deceleration in bookings in third quarter are estimated to negatively impact fourth quarter operating revenues by approximately $100 million," the airline said in a statement.

"October operating revenues include two headwinds -- an estimated $40 million negative impact due to the lingering effects of the Delta variant and an estimated $75 million negative impact as a result of flight cancellations from operational challenges experienced earlier this month."

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Southwest's total third-quarter revenue increased 161% over the same period in 2020, but was 17% below the figure for the penultimate quarter of 2019.

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