Top Line

Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly on Tuesday vehemently denied widespread rumors that his airline’s mass cancellations of flights in recent days were due to an internal protest over its COVID-19 vaccine mandate, saying it was controversial. But, they have found “no evidence” of correlation. Between mandates and disruptions.

important facts

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Speaking with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Kelly reiterated the company’s explanation from recent days: that the more than 2,000 flight cancellations through Monday were the result of a traffic management program put in place by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). .

he said southwest was more affected Compared to other airlines because more than half of its fleet “touches the state of Florida,” where the FAA programs were targeted.

It’s normal that it will take “several days” to adjust to these changes, Kelly said, noting that “things have returned to normal” with a few more cancellations than usual on Tuesday.

important quotes

Kelly admitted that Southwest’s vaccine mandate is “controversial” and “nothing I would like for my company.” However, he stressed that the order is from the federal government “and we are doing our best to comply with it by the deadline.”

main background

A flurry of canceled flights over the weekend sparked speculation that Southwest employees were protesting its rapidly approaching November 24 vaccine mandate. the company has been subject to mounting Pressure from the federal government to get its employees vaccinated or risk losing lucrative contracts. And the need has already stirred up internal protests with the pilots union on Friday ask A court to block Southwest from enforcing the mandate. However, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association has also insisted that the cancellations were not due to vaccine-related demonstrations. “We can say with confidence that our pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job action,” the union said. Statement.

chief critic

Nonetheless, Republicans in Congress have been quick to criticize the Southwest and sided with their employees. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) immediately announced the cancellation of “Joe Biden’s illegal vaccine mandate at work” at the Dallas-based company. Meanwhile, fellow Texas Republican Representative Chip Roy called for the airline to be shut down.

“Southwest cancels more than 1,000 flights – pilots say it’s not a protest over COVID vaccine mandate” (Businesshala)

“‘Shut Them Down’: Republicans Attack Southwest Airlines, Side With Employees Amid Rumored Vaccine Mandate Protest” (Businesshala)