BREAKING: Southwest Cancels Over 1,000 Flights For A Single Day, Some Speculate Pilot Strike
Southwest Airlines just canceled over 1,000 flights on Sunday just after canceling over 800 the day before, with many speculating that a pilot strike against vaccine mandates may be the cause. This makes up 28% of the airline’s scheduled flights of the day – the highest of any U.S. airline by a massive margin.
For comparison, American Airlines canceled 143 flights today, making about 4% of their total planned trips for the day.
The airline denied the charge that pilots striking against their forced vaccination protocol is at all causing the delay, saying that the true culprit was ‘bad weather.’
“We experienced significant impact in the Florida airports yesterday (Friday) evening after an FAA-imposed air traffic management program was implemented due to weather and resulted in a large number of cancellations. We are working hard behind the scenes to minimize challenges and fully recover the operation as we take care of displaced crews and customers as quickly as possible. We will continue to reset our network today and hope to return to close to normal operations as we move into Sunday.”
Southwest also posted on social media following the incident, putting part of the blame on air traffic control staff as well by claiming “ATC issues.”
USA Today reported that the FAA responded to Southwest’s statements blaming air traffic control issues and weather on Sunday without naming the airline directly. The FAA said that this was an issue on Friday afternoon alone, suggesting that their delays had no effect on the airline’s failures to honor flights on Saturday and Sunday.
“No FAA air traffic staffing shortages have been reported since Friday,” Steve Kulm, FAA spokesperson, said in a statement. “Flight delays and cancellations occurred for a few hours Friday afternoon due to widespread severe weather, military training, and limited staffing in one area of the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center.”
Southwest’s pilot union denies that a pilot strike is the cause of any delays, with a statement posted to its website Saturday saying: “SWAPA is aware of operational difficulties affecting Southwest Airlines today due to a number of issues, but we can say with confidence that our pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions.”
Regardless, many have still cast doubt on whether Southwest’s excuse of bad weather is really true in the wake of vaccine mandates, with some prominent political commentators expressing hope there is in fact an ongoing strike.
“I hope the Southwest flight cancellations are due to an employee ‘sickout’ protesting the vaccine mandate. The ONLY way to defeat vaccine mandates is refusing to comply,” wrote conservative commentator Liz Wheeler.
Others have unequivocally concluded that there is a strike & that more is likely to come.
“Way more to this Southwest thing, other airline crews are joining in,” posted Human Events Senior Editor Jack Posobiec.
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