Southwest Airways’ cancellation price slowed on Monday following a weekend of widespread delays, hypothesis and finger-pointing.
As of noon Monday, Southwest had canceled 365 flights, about 10 p.c of its schedule, and was seeing delays on slightly below 20 p.c of its flights, based on FlightAware knowledge. By comparability, Sunday noticed 30 p.c of Southwest’s flights canceled, and the service canceled greater than 2,000 flights over the vacation weekend, citing “[Air Traffic Control] points and disruptive climate.”
Southwest was alone amongst its friends within the tough weekend, with no different main carriers reporting delays or cancellations of an identical magnitude. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday mentioned that it had skilled delays and cancellations “for a number of hours Friday [afternoon] on account of widespread extreme climate, navy coaching and restricted staffing in a single space of the Jacksonville, [Fla.], en route heart” however had no air visitors staffing shortages reported since. It added that “some airways proceed to expertise scheduling challenges on account of plane and crews being misplaced.”
Such challenges will not be a complete shock, as a number of U.S. airways, together with Southwest, noticed operational challenges over the summer time as they confronted the rising pains of returning to pre-pandemic flight capability whereas bringing employees and plane again on-line. Southwest on Sunday, a historically busy weekend with Monday’s U.S. federal vacation, was flying greater than 90 p.c of its capability in contrast with 2019, based on Cirium knowledge.
There was added hypothesis that Southwest’s challenges over the weekend stemmed from staffing shortages associated to its not too long ago introduced Covid-19 vaccine mandate. Southwest final week mentioned it will require all workers not eligible for exemptions to be totally vaccinated by Dec. 8 to adjust to President Joe Biden’s Covid-19 motion plan, which requires firms with contracted federal authorities enterprise to have a totally vaccinated workforce. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) threw gas on that hypothesis by tweeting a hyperlink to a CNBC story about Southwest’s cancellations and calling it “Joe Biden’s unlawful vaccine mandate at work,” although he provided no proof to help these claims.
Southwest has mentioned the cancellations haven’t any relation to the vaccine mandate, and whereas its pilots’ union, the Southwest Airways Pilots Affiliation, did ask a federal court docket in Dallas on Friday to dam the service from imposing the mandate, the union in a press release over the weekend mentioned its pilots have been “not taking part in any official or nonofficial job actions.”
“Our pilots will proceed to beat [Southwest’s] administration’s poor planning, in addition to any exterior operational challenges, and stay the best pilots on this planet,” based on the union’s assertion.