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Southwest President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven explained in an interview what happened during the weekend.

Van de Ven said “Florida is just a critical node in our network”. He explained further that around 40% to 50% of Southwest’s planes flow through Florida every day. He elaborated that “when we have a disruption, a significant disruption, in Florida, it tends to spread to our entire network”.

The Southwest President explained on Friday that they had “well over” 100 planes and crew members “that weren’t where they were supposed to be”.

From Friday to Sunday, Southwest canceled around 2,000 flights. The carrier blamed a variety of issues such as air traffic control issues and the weather in Florida. However, there were speculations that workers walked off as protest to the federal vaccine mandate.

The Biden administration announced that federal contractors should require a vaccination among its employees. The same goes for businesses with more than 100 employees. However, businesses will have the option to offer tests to their unvaccinated employees.

No Evidence of Work Stoppage

Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said on Monday that “I’ve seen speculation on the reasoning”. He added that “Florida weather on Friday and unexpected ATC issues on Friday night resulted in delays and cancellations across our network, and it just got us behind”.

Van de Ven explained that there’s no evidence of work stoppage. He mentioned that the airline is monitoring its rate of sick calls. He added that “There’s no indication in any case of our data that there is anything going on nefariously with respect to any type of activity like that”.

Southwest Addressed Mass Flight Cancelations

Van de Ven gave an apology to those who were affected by the flight cancelations. He said, “We are very sorry about the impact we’ve had on their plans”. He added that the airline offers flexibility when it comes to both ticket changes and refunds. It is also going to issue goodwill vouchers and compensations for other expenses. However, he didn’t specify any details.

 

John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme
John Michael Jayme is a Travel Analyst for The Jet Set. He writes about news and events affecting the travel industry.

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