Southwest cancels more flights amid vaccine mandate announcement

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Southwest Airlines canceled lots of more flights Monday after the airline was compelled to floor practically 2,000 flights over the weekend.

The world’s largest low-cost service canceled nearly 350 flights — or one in ten scheduled departures — as of Monday at 7 a.m. ET, in accordance with information from Flight Aware. That marks the very best cancellation rate of any main US airline by far, in accordance with the location.

Almost 200 more Southwest flights have been dealing with delays, the location’s information confirmed.

The airline’s newest woes come after it needed to floor more than 25 % of its scheduled flights on Sunday.

The company has blamed the cancelations on climate points in Florida compounded by air site visitors points within the surrounding space, triggering a sequence response of cancellations nationwide.

But the Federal Aviation Administration insisted there have been solely a “few hours” of flight delays on Friday afternoon attributable to climate and staffing points at site visitors management facilities.

“No FAA air traffic staffing shortages have been reported since Friday,” the FAA mentioned in an announcement. “Some airlines continue to experience scheduling challenges due to aircraft and crews being out of place. Please contact the airlines for details about current flight schedules.”

The mass cancelations and delays on the busy Columbus Day weekend come after the airline announced last week that it might require all of its workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine, as referred to as for by President Joe Biden earlier this year.

Passengers line up on the ticketing counter for Southwest Airlines flights at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska on Oct. 10, 2021.

AP Photo/David Zalubowski

Employees should get vaccinated earlier than Dec. 8 or face termination. The Dallas, TX-based airline has roughly 56,000 workers.

The timing of the cancelations sparked hypothesis by journey business insiders and politicians that the mandate may very well be exacerbating points on the airline.

Henry H. Harteveldt, president of Atmosphere Research Group, instructed The Associated Press that Southwest’s points may very well be tied to pilots partaking in a sickout protest towards the airline’s mandate.

But Harteveldt additionally famous the airline has scheduled more flights than it might deal with since June.

Texas senator Ted Cruz immediately blamed Biden’s vaccine mandate.

“Joe Biden’s illegal vaccine mandate at work!” he tweeted Sunday. “Suddenly, we’re short on pilots & air traffic controllers.”

A Southwest spokesperson, nevertheless, said in an email to CNBC that the hypothesis is “inaccurate.”

“There’s a lot of unfounded rumor and speculation circulating,” the company instructed the outlet.

In addition, Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, the labor union that represents the airline’s pilots, insisted the problems should not associated to the vaccine order and as a substitute are attributable to administration’s “poor planning.”

“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,” the union said in a statement.

— Additional reporting by Patrick Reilly