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Southwest Airlines CEO Says the Company May Start Assigning Seats The airline reported its Q1 2024 earnings on Thursday.

By Emily Rella

Southwest Airlines is well known for its chaotic boarding process, thanks to the company's policy of not having passenger seat assignments — but that could soon change.

On Thursday, the airline's CEO, Bob Jordan, told CNBC about potential changes coming to the airline after a rough Q1 2024 earnings report that has the airline slashing growth plans after posting a loss of $231 million.

"We're looking into new initiatives, things like the way we seat and board our aircraft," Jordan told the outlet. "Customer preferences do change over time."

Related: Southwest Airlines makes big operational changes after 2024 financial report

Due to ongoing trouble with Boeing, Southwest said on Thursday that it now plans to only receive 20 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft as opposed to the 46 it initially expected.

In an attempt to cut costs, the airline is offering voluntary time off and expects to end 2024 with 2,000 fewer employees than it did at the end of 2023.

"The recent news from Boeing regarding further aircraft delivery delays presents significant challenges for both 2024 and 2025," Jordan said in a company release. "We are reacting and replanning quickly to mitigate the operational and financial impacts while maintaining dependable and reliable flight schedules for our Customers."

However, the airline still put up $6.3 billion in Q1 operating revenue, the highest Q1 operating revenue in the company's history and a 10.9% increase year over year, though it still missed analysts' estimates.

Related: Southwest Airlines Debuts New 'Thin' Seats, No Video Screens

Southwest also announced that it would no longer operate in a slew of airports effective August 4, including Bellingham International Airport, Cozumel International Airport, Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, and Syracuse Hancock International Airport.

The airline will also "significantly restructure other markets," including capacity reductions in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Southwest Airlines was down around 7% in a 24-hour period upon the news of the earnings report as of Thursday afternoon.

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior News Writer

Emily Rella is a Senior News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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