Airline working to reset after canceling more than 2,000 flights in recent days; Southwest executives say they are addressing labor challenges
Southwest Airlines Co. pilots said the airline’s weekend meltdown reflected longer-running fatigue and frustration among its crew, leaving it vulnerable to further outages.
Southwest’s troubles eased Tuesday as the carrier worked to reset itself after canceling more than 2,000 flights over the weekend and into Monday. The airline on Tuesday canceled 91 flights, or 2% of its schedule, according to flight tracking site FlightAware, compared with roughly 1,900 canceled flights over Saturday and Sunday, and another 435 Monday.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, which represents Southwest’s 9,000 pilots, has blamed the airline’s management and what it describes as poor planning for the trouble. The union raised alarms over the summer that pilots were being stretched thin by frequent reassignments that have led to longer work days and extended trips. Without changes, problems like this weekend’s could crop up again, union president Capt. Casey Murray said in an interview Monday.
“We’re going to see it next weekend or the holidays or whenever a thunderstorm pops up in Mexico,” he said.
DALLAS (AP) — When Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights over the weekend, citing bad weather and air traffic control issues, unsupported claims blaming vaccine mandates began taking off.
Conservative politicians and pundits, including Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, alleged the flight disruptions resulted from pilots and air traffic controllers walking off their jobs or calling in sick to protest federal vaccination requirements.
The airline, its pilots’ union and the Federal Aviation Administration denied that.