David Paul Morris / Bloomberg / Getty Southwest Airlines
The Southwest Airlines The Pilots Association (SWAPA) blamed “management’s poor planning” after more than 1,800 flights were canceled over the weekend.
After 808 cancellations on Saturday, the airline canceled 1,019 other flights Sunday, which is 28% of their scheduled flights for the day, according to FlightAware.
Some of the cities with the most canceled flights included SWA’s hubs in Denver, Baltimore, Las Vegas, Chicago and Dallas, where the airline is based.
âWe encountered weather issues at our Florida airports early in the weekend, challenges that were compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same area, causing significant delays and cancellations for us from Friday night, âSouthwest told PEOPLE in a statement. . “We continued to work diligently throughout the weekend to reset our operations with a focus on repositioning aircraft and crews to take care of our customers.”
No other airline appeared to be affected on the same scale, with American Airlines being the second most affected domestic airline on Sunday, canceling just 143 (4%) of its scheduled flights.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) noted that it had experienced an increase in delays and cancellations due to bad weather and limited staff, but that disruption was limited to Friday afternoon outside of Florida.
âNo personnel shortages for FAA air traffic have been reported since Friday. Flight delays and cancellations occurred for a few hours on Friday afternoon due to widespread extreme weather conditions, military training and limited personnel in an area of ââdowntown Jacksonville en route, “the FAA tweeted in response. âSome airlines continue to have scheduling issues due to planes and crews out of place. “
SWAPA, which is currently in a legal battle with the airline, blamed Southwest, writing in a declaration Saturday that they are “aware of the 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 action.”
âOur pilots will continue to overcome the poor planning of the SWA leadership, as well as any external operational challenges, and will remain the most productive pilots in the world. They will continue to focus on their highest priority – safety. SWAPA are true professionals and always maintain the highest level of responsibility towards their crews, passengers and our airline, âthe statement concludes.
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The union filed a complaint against SWA in August, accusing the airline of breaking federal labor laws by implementing new no-negotiation rules during the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting pay rates and working conditions, according to the Associated Press.
Russell McCrady, vice president of labor relations at Southwest, said the changes were due to “unpredictable challenges” posed by the pandemic, and they did not require negotiation.
Friday, SWAPA asked a court to temporarily block the airline enforce a federally mandated vaccination requirement as they attempt to resolve their pending lawsuit.