This weekend has been a nightmare for thousands of people who were preparing to travel during the bridge for the Day of the Indigenous Peoples in the United States. Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights between Friday and Monday across the country.
According to CNN Business , the problems began on Friday night, with a series of delays and the first suspensions. However, the wave of cancellations came on Saturday , when 808 flights were grounded . On Sunday 1,124 flights were canceled , the equivalent of 30% of those scheduled .
This Monday, the world’s largest low-cost airline continues in crisis. As of 6:00 a.m. ET, the company had already canceled 337 of today’s scheduled takeoffs and another 175 are delayed , according to flight-tracking website FlightAware. More cancellations are expected throughout the day.
Although Southwest was the worst hit, American Airlines also canceled about 2% of its flights. The low-cost airline Spirit Airlines suspended 4% of its takeoffs and Allegian 4%, according to the same flight tracker.
Why is Southwest Airlines canceling flights?
The company noted that the crisis is due to air traffic control problems, lack of personnel and bad weather.
“We experienced weather challenges at our Florida airports at the start of the weekend, challenges that were compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region, leading to significant delays and cancellations for us ,” the airline said in a released on Sunday.
ATC issues and disruptive weather have resulted in a high volume of cancellations throughout the weekend while we work to recover our operation. We appreciate your patience as we accommodate affected Customers, and Customer Service wait times are longer than usual. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/o1scQJ5lLb
– Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) October 9, 2021
“We are working diligently to accommodate our clients as quickly as possible. […] We apologize and once again thank everyone for their patience, as we work first to be safe and second to be as quick as possible to resolve disrupted itineraries, ” added Southwest Airlines .
Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Twitter that “there has been no reported shortage of FAA air traffic personnel since Friday,” and that the delays would have other causes.
Some airlines continue to experience scheduling challenges due to aircraft and crews being out of place. (2/2)
– The FAA (@FAANews) October 10, 2021
“Flight delays and cancellations occurred for a few hours on Friday afternoon due to widespread severe weather, military training and limited personnel in an area of the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center ,” the FAA explained.
Are there vaccination problems at Southwest Airlines?
Last week the airline announced a mandate for all employees to receive the Covid-19 vaccine . Therefore, it is speculated that the delays over the weekend are in fact due to a lack of inoculation from the staff.
“Southwest Airlines must join our industry peers to comply with the federal government’s covid-19 vaccination directive,” said Gary Kelly, president and CEO of Southwest Airlines in a statement.
For its part, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association stated that the cancellations were due to “poor management planning” and that “our pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial labor action ,” the union said in another statement. .
The airline promised to address the issues by scheduling fewer flights in the fall , adding that schedule changes affected operations this weekend.
“With fewer frequencies between cities on our current schedule, recovery during operational challenges is more difficult and lengthy, ” Southwest said in a statement.
As a result, Southwest shares fell 2.8% in pre-market trading this Monday, reports CNBC .