Over 650 flights in and out of Denver International Airport have been canceled through Thursday as of Wednesday morning.
Over 80% of those flights are through Southwest, which said it expected to call off most of its flights nationally for several more days as it hopes to “rebalance” the airline by moving its crews and planes to the right airports after a winter storm just before Christmas weekend caused major disruptions in many cities across the U.S.
Southwest’s cancellations at DIA Wednesday and Thursday, 292 and 272 flights respectively, are nearly evenly split between arrivals and departures and account for about 50% of the airline’s schedule through Denver on both days.
Wednesday’s other cancellations at DIA consist of 80 SkyWest flights, five CommutAir flights and two Spirit flights. For Thursday, SkyWest canceled four flights and Frontier canceled two flights so far.
Southwest Airlines CEO Bob Jordan in a video statement posted to Twitter on Tuesday evening apologized to customers and employees and said the airline is doing “everything we can to return to a normal operation.”
On the heels of wide-scale disruptions, we’re working diligently to Safely recover our operation & accommodate displaced Customers & Crews. We know this is unacceptable & sincerely apologize. If your travel was impacted, explore self-service options here: https://t.co/B6L8HR9Yqc pic.twitter.com/mLWndYMned
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) December 28, 2022
“With our large fleet of airplanes and flight crews out of position in dozens of locations, and after days of trying to operate our full schedule across the busy holiday weekend, we reached a decision point to significantly reduce our flying to catch up,” Jordan said. “We’re focused on safely getting all of the pieces back into position to end this rolling struggle.”
Jordan said he talked with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to discuss what the airline is doing to “make things right” for customers, and Jordan said he is optimistic Southwest can get “back on track before next week.”
Another winter storm heading for Denver Wednesday night could add some airport troubles Thursday morning as the high-end amount of snowfall forecast at DIA is 7.5 inches.
Rain will start falling Wednesday afternoon before changing to snow between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Forecasters at the National Weather Service in Boulder said the snow will begin sticking to pavement “very shortly” after it begins falling.
Snowfall could be moderate to heavy with rates of up to two inches per hour possible. It will be a “heavy, wet snow” due to relatively warm temperatures.
The storm’s total snowfall will most likely be between two and four inches, but anywhere from one to eight inches are possible.