After Southwest Cancels Over 300 Flights, Many Blame Pilots’ Union
Southwest Airlines canceled over 350 flights this week due to poor weather conditions and air traffic control issues, marking the third straight day of canceled and delayed flights for Southwest passengers.
Around 10% of Southwest’s entire schedule has been canceled and roughly 40% was delayed. Southwest shares have dropped by 4.2%.
Southwest began canceling flights when the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association asked a federal court to block the airline’s vaccine mandate.
Union president Casey Murray told reporters: “We are not anti-vaccination at all, but our pilots are extremely worried about how their medicals are going to be handled” if they cannot fly.
Murray asserted that the airline’s issues do not stem from resistance to the vaccine mandate, instead blamed a system “cracks under the slightest pressure.”
Southwest Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven also pointed out that the airline is dealing with a pilot shortage. “[Despite] a very aggressive hiring plan… we are still not where we want to be with staffing,” he said.