The cancellation of thousands of flights by Southwest Airlines Friday and Sunday continued on Monday with at least 2,000 flights. Passengers at Philadelphia International Airport were affected by the cancellations. The situation leave them stranded and sometimes with no options to return to their destination.
According to the aviation tracking website FlightAware, the world’s largest low-cost carrier canceled three of every 10 departures it had scheduled on Sunday and the disruption went on Monday, with 337 flights, or about one in 10, canceled so far.
As reported by 6abc.com, Southwest blamed the cancellations on air traffic control problems and limited staffing in Florida as well as bad weather.
“We’ve continued diligent work throughout the weekend to reset our operation with a focus on getting aircraft and crews repositioned to take care of our customers,” the airline said in a statement.
Southwest canceled more than 1,000 flights, or 28% of its schedule, as of 5 p.m. ET Sunday, according to FlightAware. That was by far the highest rate among major U.S. airlines.
The airline said in a statement that it experienced weather challenges at its Florida airports at the beginning of the weekend, which were worsened by unexpected air traffic control problems in the same region.
Those problems caused delays and led to significant cancellations for the airlines as of Friday night.
Last week, the airline announced a vaccine mandate for employees, fueling speculation that the weekend delays may have been caused by a pilot walk-out.
“Southwest Airlines must join our industry peers in complying with the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination directive,” Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO said in a statement. “I encourage all Southwest Employees to meet the federal directive, as quickly as possible, since we value every individual and want to ensure job security for all.”
Southwest had the worst on-time performance and the greatest percentage of canceled flights of any of the nation’s four major airlines in June and July, according to flight tracking service Cirium.