Airlines have to play the long game when it comes to route planning, staffing and equipment needs. You can move planes from one airport to another and change the frequency of your routes, but you can’t spin up new planes right away.

That means if you want to add capacity, you have to make those decisions years in advance. (Luv)- Get Free Report –The covid pandemic has changed the equation.

Airlines, like their competitors, had to go into survival mode. That meant suspending almost any expense that could be suspended. This did not include layoffs, and while Southwest has never taken layoffs, it was meant to encourage some staff to retire early.