- Southwest Airlines cancelled more than 1,800 flights over the weekend.
- The company and its pilot union both said the issue was unrelated to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
- Southwest is requiring employees to be vaccinated by December 8.
There is no evidence that Southwest Airlines’ operational difficulties over the weekend “were related to vaccine mandates,” the Federal Aviation Administration said Monday evening.
That echoes what both the company and its pilots are saying. “There is absolutely no evidence of any kind of job action,” incoming CEO Bob Jordan told The Dallas Morning News on Monday.
In a statement over the weekend, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, the union representing nearly 10,000 of the company’s pilots, said it could say “with confidence” that operational difficulties were not due to “any official or unofficial job actions.”
The statements come after Southwest was forced to cancel more than 1,800 flights on Saturday and Sunday – over a quarter of those scheduled – over what it said were problems related to weather and issues with air traffic control, The New York Times reported.
Republican lawmakers such as US Sen. Ted Cruz, of Texas, had earlier tried to link the airline’s logistical problems to President Joe Biden’s proposed mandate, not yet in effect, that employees at large companies either be vaccinated or tested weekly for COVID-19.
Southwest has announced that it will require all employees to be vaccinated by December 8, with exemptions for medical and religious reasons.
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