Southwest Airlines announced the cancellation of 1,800 flights after the Southwest pilots union asked a judge to stop the company’s vaccine mandate.
“I know this is incredibly difficult for all of you, and our Customers are not happy,” Alan Kasher executive vice president of daily flight operations told staff in a note on Sunday, according to CNBC.
“Although we were staffed for the weekend, we could not anticipate the significant disruption that was created from unexpected ATC issues and bad weather across our Florida stations,” said Kasher.
ATC issues and disruptive weather have resulted in a high volume of cancellations throughout the weekend while we work to recover our operation. We appreciate your patience as we accommodate affected Customers, and Customer Service wait times are longer than usual. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/o1scQJ5lLb
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) October 9, 2021
The FAA claimed there have been no staffing shortages since Friday, despite the number of cancelled flights.
No FAA air traffic staffing shortages have been reported since Friday.
Flight delays & cancellations occurred for a few hours Friday PM due to widespread severe weather, military training, & limited staffing in one area of the Jacksonville en route center.
— The FAA ✈️ (@FAANews) October 10, 2021
The rough weekend for Southwest follows strong push back from several employees upset over the company’s recently announced vaccine mandate. The mandate followed similar moves from other airlines like Delta and American Airlines.
The weekend cancellations may foreshadow what will take place in other industries that adopt vaccine mandates.