Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights over the past weekend as a number of issues left passengers stranded across the US. What was not at the center of the mass cancellation was the opposition to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Some on social media speculated that the widespread disruption was due to protests from pilots or air traffic controllers.. The Federal Aviation Administration and the airline say this is not true.
What is the reason for cancellation of all flights?
Over 2,000 Southwest flights It was canceled last weekend. The airline cited weather and limited staffing issues at Florida airports. “ATC issues and disruptive weather have resulted in a significant amount of cancellations throughout the weekend while we work to fine-tune our operations,” Southwest said in a statement. Tweet on Saturday.
The airline added more details about the issues on Monday.
“On Friday evening, the airline ended the day with several cancellations, mainly due to weather and other external constraints, which forced the aircraft and crew out of pre-planned positions to operate our schedule on Saturday. Gave,” Southwest Airlines said in a statement:. “Unfortunately, the continued stress on out-of-place aircraft and our crew resources created additional cancellations on our point-to-point network that cascade throughout the weekend and Monday.”
The FAA confirmed that weather and staff shortage issues as well as military training contributed to the cancellation Friday near the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center in Hilliard, Florida.
This created a cascading effect for Southwest that continued until Monday, with more than 300 flights cancelled, according to information about flying.
Is the Walkout on the COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate to Be Canceled Due to?
No, according to Southwest and the FAA.
a Tweet Allegations of a walkout by air traffic controllers at Jacksonville International Airport began swirling on Saturday . Others on social media suggested that Southwest employees were protesting Vaccine requirements company enforced.
Representative Chip Roy And Sen. Ted Cruz, both Republicans from Texas tweeted about the cancellation. Roy said that although he was unsure whether it was airline employees or air traffic controllers revolting, he would have their support. Cruz laid the blame on Biden’s push for a vaccine mandate.
In connection with the rumor of an air traffic controller walkout, flights in and out of Jacksonville International Airport – where many Southwest flights were canceled – are handled by the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center. The FAA, which staffs the majority of air traffic controllers, said in a statement Monday that there has been no shortage of staff since Friday.
In a letter to the Jacksonville Aviation Authority Board of Directors obtained by WFOX On Sunday, Jacksonville Aviation Authority COO Tony Cugno said the issue with air traffic controller staff at the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center was a combination of various factors. The first was a sanctioned leave for employees, and the second was a required 48-hour period when center employees had to stay at home to self-monitor for any side effects after receiving the vaccine shot.
The FAA Said It’s Working To Keep Its Employees.
Another issue with the rumor: Walk-outs by air traffic controllers would have resulted in far more cancellations by other airlines. According to Flight Aware, Southwest canceled 1,124 flights on Sunday, while the US airline with the second most cancellations was 167. with American Airlines.
On October 4, Southwest said it would need All employees have to get vaccinated by 8th December. However, it confirmed in an emailed statement that the weekend’s canceled flights were not due to their new requirements.
“There is no truth behind the rumors that this is a job-related action,” the company said.
The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association (SWAPA), which represents the airline’s pilots, also confirmed that the cancellation was not due to opposition to the company’s vaccination requirements, according to a report. Dallas Morning News.
Why did it affect only the South-West?
This past weekend uncovered some issues with Southwest’s business strategy. while it is one of Top Rated Airlines in the CountryIt is feeling the effects of the COVID pandemic.
“We were short-staffed over the weekend,” said Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly. CNBC Tuesday. “We were far behind on Friday and it takes days to catch up.”
It also doesn’t help that Southwest uses a linear route network, also known as point to point. With this model, airplanes travel directly from city to city without passing through hubs, such as Data Airlines with Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and United Airlines with Chicago O’Hare Airport. The advantage of Southwest’s strategy is more flights keeping costs down, which they pass on to customers in the form of lower ticket prices. On the other hand, if there is a bigger problem it can create a domino effect.
Speaking of this past weekend, thunderstorms rolled across Florida on Friday, causing initial disruption.
“Every single airport in the state of Florida was affected,” Kelly said. “We are probably the largest airline in the state of Florida in terms of seats offered.”
The combination of those delays and cancellations due to weather in Florida created a domino effect as other factors came into play. For example, the FAA requires flight crews to: Mandatory eight-hour rest every 24 hours. When a flight is delayed by several hours on a Friday, and the same crew was to take over on Saturday morning, they have to wait eight hours before working on another flight. He pushes that flight back. Because of Southwest’s point-to-point model, the plane that was supposed to travel to four or five cities that day would not make those flights, and there is no hub for those passengers to re-route.
Southwest employees have complained of their exhaustion for months. Unions for Southwest said in August The crew could not handle the number of flights The company had scheduled. SWAPA attributed the weekend cancellations to “poor management planning” and “external operational challenges”.
south west too No interline contracts with other carriers. If a Delta flight is canceled, the company may offer a US flight for the passenger.
Southwest’s weekend fuss was a headache for many travelers, but it wasn’t because of an employee revolt over a vaccine mandate. The airline has urged people affected by delayed and canceled flights to Explore rebooking options at Southwest.com.