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Southwest Airlines 'aggressively hiring' with plans to fill 5K spots by yearend

Southwest Airlines said Thursday that it's in the process of "aggressively hiring" in order to ramp up operations.

The carrier said that it had a goal of hiring approximately 5,000 employees by the end of 2021. To date, it's already "more than halfway toward that goal," CEO Gary Kelly said in a statement.

Southwest is now trying to focus on ramping up its schedule, and in order to do so, it will need more staff.

Still, its 2022 schedule, "reflects more conservative staffing assumptions, as well, all compared to historical norms."

Earlier this month, the Dallas-based carrier lost an estimated $75 million due to operational challenges. The carrier canceled more than 2,000 flights, which it blamed on bad weather and air traffic control issues. The move stranded numerous passengers at airports nationwide.

The loss was the result of flight cancellations, customer refunds and "gestures of goodwill," according to Southwest. Those goodwill gestures came in the form of Southwest LUV Vouchers, which can be applied to future Southwest travel.

Moving forward, however, Kelly said its "fourth quarter 2021's overall results are trending better than third quarter 2021" despite higher fuel prices.

The carrier noted that its "encouraged by the recent improvement in business travel demand resulting in steady improvements in business bookings" so far this month.

Additionally, "beyond October 2021, the current booking curve for the holidays is trending in line" with pre-pandemic levels, according to Kelly.

"While there are lingering effects from the summer COVID-19 surge and recent operational challenges, we are encouraged with renewed momentum in leisure and business traffic, revenues, and bookings—especially over the holidays," Kelly added.

This article originally appeared on Fox Business

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