Crisis Response Lessons From Southwest

Jonathan Crystal
Jonathan Crystal
CFO, Crystal & Company

Soon after our piece about the safety of air travel came the tragic news of a commercial aircraft-related death when a Southwest Airlines engine exploded mid-flight. We mention it here not to suggest that air travel is getting riskier—it’s not—but rather to note the airline’s fast and effective response to the crisis. It’s the kind of news every airline hopes to avoid, but not only did Southwest have crisis response plans in place, the company practiced for years before those plans were put to use.

Bottom Line: It takes planning and preparation to respond quickly and effectively in times of crisis. Southwest’s competent response to this tragic incident emphasizes the importance of having crisis response plans established and ready at a moment’s notice.

UPDATE: There are reports today of another incident involving a broken window on a Southwest plane. While details have yet to be released, there no reports of injuries and it appears to have been handled quickly and efficiently. Southwest has yet again had to rely on their crisis response plan. Time will tell how they are ultimately affected by this series of problems, but the importance of constant diligence and preparation, even in the immediate aftermath of another crisis, is clear.

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