Southwest Airlines cancels 1,800 flights days after union sued over vaccine mandate

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Southwest Airlines canceled at least 1,800 flights just days after its pilots union sued the company over its Covid-19 vaccine mandate.

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Southwest was forced to cancel more than 1,000 flights on Sunday, about 30 percent of its US schedule, according to the FlightAware website.

And it blamed “disruptive weather” and air traffic control issues for its problems.


But the Federal Aviation Administration said the airlines were facing problems because of their difficulties with staff and planes.

And another 800 flights were canceled on Saturday, according to The Washington Post.

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The airline said in a statement Sunday that its problems began Friday due to weather issues at Florida airports, “complicated by unforeseen air traffic control issues in the same area, causing delays and significant delays for us through Friday evening.” Cancellation going on.”

Southwest’s issues with weather and traffic control were not shared by other airlines.

American Airlines reportedly had about 63 cancellations as of early Sunday afternoon and United Airlines only had nine.

The FAA responded by saying that there were some air traffic staffing issues but the main issue was the airlines.

“Extensive inclement weather, military training and limited staffing in an area of ​​the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center resulted in flight delays and cancellations for a few hours on Friday afternoon,” the FAA said in a statement on Sunday.

“Some airlines are facing scheduling challenges as aircraft and crew are out of place.”

Southwest said it was trying to replace the plane and crew so that service could return to normal.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said in its own statement that although the pilots were aware of the “operational difficulties affecting Southwest Airlines”, it can “say with confidence that our pilots may not engage in any official or unofficial job functions”. not participating.”

And the union said: “Our pilots (Southwest) will continue to overcome poor management planning, as well as any external operational challenges, and remain the most productive pilots in the world.”

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, which said on Tuesday it was filing a temporary restraining order related to its August lawsuit over a COVID-19 mandate, against the Dallas airline.

Southwest says all of its employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 8 or lose their jobs.

Credit: / Southwest Airlines

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