Reuters

JOE SKIPPER

Orlando Airport in the United States

Southwest Airlines said it expects to resume normal service this week after canceling more than 2,500 scheduled flights since Saturday.

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The company attributed the reason for the cancellation of these flights to problems with air traffic control and bad weather in Florida, where the airline canceled 1,124 flights (30% of its daily operations), last Sunday, more than 800 flights on Saturday, and more than 588 cancellations on Monday. , according to data from flight-tracking platform Flightaware.

For his part, Mike van de Wee, chief operating officer of Southwest, explained in a letter to employees that “the sudden cancellation of flights has caused a shortage of staff, and may reduce the number of flights that the company can operate in November and December.” The company, whose shares fell by as much as 4.3%, did not say how many cancellations were, but said they were “significant.”

The airline responded to a tweet from an account asking about a canceled flight, saying: “We are stabilizing our operations, and expect to resume normal service this week.”

Meanwhile, the airline’s pilots’ union denied speculation on social media that the cancellation was due to their actions.

The union indicated in a statement that it was “aware of the operational difficulties”, but its pilots “did not participate in any official or unofficial job duties”, as this union announced last week that it would introduce a temporary restraining order to prevent “Southwest” from complying with the mandate of a vaccine against the virus. Corona virus for federal contractors, including major airlines.”

“Due to the staff shortage caused by the weekend disruptions, the airline will implement mandatory overtime for staff,” said Alan Kasher, executive vice president of daily operations at Southwest.

For its part, the Federal Aviation Administration commented, last Sunday, saying: “No shortage of FAA air traffic crew has been reported since Friday.. There were flight delays and cancellations for a few hours on Friday evening due to severe weather on a large scale. Extensive, military training, and understaffing in one area of ​​the Jacksonville N. Center of the Road.”

Source: “Reuters”

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