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Ted Cruz, R-Texas, sparked speculation on Twitter late Sunday about Southwest Airlines’ decision to cancel more than 1,000 flights after its pilots’ union asked a court to block the company’s new COVID-19 vaccination mandate. said to.

The airline has blamed “disruptive weather” and air traffic control issues for the cancellations. Some Twitter users were skeptical of the timing of the disruption, including a Texas Republican.


“Joe Biden’s Illegal Vaccine Mandates a Work!” Cruz tweeted. “All of a sudden, we are short of pilots and air traffic controllers.”

The airline announced last week that—due to new rules from the Biden administration—its employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and fully vaccinated by December 8. Workers are allowed to receive medical or religious exemptions.

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Southwest said it has to mandate vaccines because of new rules from the Biden administration, which requires companies with federal contracts to vaccinate employees. Southwest’s work for the government includes flying the military in emergencies and carrying mail for the US Postal Service.

Last week, rivals American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and JetBlue told their employees they needed to be vaccinated. United Airlines, in August, was the first major airline to do so and has since said that more than 97% of its employees have been vaccinated. United also said it would put employees who could not receive shots for medical or religious reasons on unpaid leave until COVID-19 rates subside.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association challenged the company’s mandate inside Dallas federal court on Friday, claiming the policy “unlawfully applied the new terms of employment and the new policy to anyone not fully vaccinated as of December 8, 2021.” also threatens to terminate the pilot,” according to to Bloomberg.

The union issued a press release Saturday saying it was aware of “operational difficulties” affecting the airline, but “we can say with confidence that our pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job action”. “

A Southwest spokeswoman told CNBC in an email that the claim that the COVID-19 mandate was causing the delay was “incorrect.”

“There are a lot of baseless rumors and speculations going on,” he said.

The airline did not comment on Cruise’s tweet, but pointed to earlier statements to Granthshala News on weather challenges and air traffic control issues.

“We have continued diligent work throughout the weekend to reset our operations with a focus on repositioning the aircraft and crew to take care of our customers. And we are diligently working to accommodate our customers as quickly as possible. are working, and we are grateful for their patience.We are providing customers with additional flexibility to explore self-service rebooking options Southwest.com, where they can get updates about their travel status,” the statement read.

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According to information about flyingSouthwest, a website that tracks cancellations and delays, has canceled 1,018 flights and delayed 597 flights on Sunday alone. On Saturday, the airline canceled 808 flights and delayed 1,187 flights.

Granthshala News’ Tyler O’Neill and