According to data taken from flight tracker, FlightAware, Southwest Airlines has canceled at least 1,000 Sunday flights as of 12 p.m. ET.
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“We experienced a significant impact in the Florida airports Friday evening after an FAA-imposed air traffic management program was implemented due to weather and resulted in a large number of cancellations,” said Alan Kasher, who oversees Southwest’s flight operations, in a statement obtained by several news outlets on Saturday.
Southwest said in a statement on Saturday that it is attempting to “return to close to normal operations as we move into Sunday.”
“We are working hard behind the scenes to minimize challenges and fully recover the operation as we take care of displaced Crews and Customers as quickly as possible,” the company said, without elaborating on the nature of the flight disruptions.
There was speculation on social media that the flight cancelations were being triggered by employees calling in sick en masse. In its statement Saturday, Southwest did not make reference to the speculation.
“Southwest Airlines must join our industry peers in complying with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination directive,” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly announced on Oct. 4, explaining that the company works as a federal contractor and needs to comply with President Joe Biden’s September vaccine mandate for federal employees and contractors.
When asked about whether Southwest’s claim about bad weather caused mass cancelations, a passenger named B.J.Romero balked at the suggestion. “That sounds like baloney to me,” Romero told the station. “The weather is fine in all connecting areas, there’s no bad weather.”
“There’s got to be something behind the scenes they’re not telling us.”