Southwest Experiences Operational Emergency

Southwest Experiences Operational Emergency

Southwest Experiences Operational Emergency

The disruptions started February 12, days after the airline's last contract talks with the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, Southwest said in a statement Tuesday.

Southwest Airlines' operational emergency mainly involves the maintenance centers in Houston, Dallas, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Orlando.

It has been a rough Presidents Day weekend for Southwest Airlines. About 100 flights were canceled for maintenance reasons, as the airline struggles to keep up with an unusually high number of aircraft taken out of service for maintenance issues.

Reagan National airport in Arlington, Virginia, had the most disruptions -180 flights, or 39 percent of outbound trips were cancelled Wednesday.

The problem is that since 2012 Southwest has had a contentious relationship with its maintenance workers.

Matter of fact, as CBS News has reported, the mechanics Southwest does have say they feel pressured by airline management to look the other way when they see potential safety problems on airplanes so that those planes can return to the skies faster. "It said, "... I'm declaring Dallas in a State of Operational Emergency effective 10:00 a.m.

Southwest alluded to maintenance issues in at least one of its replies to a traveler grumbling about their cancelled trip, though it's unclear how numerous flight cancellations were linked to the labor dispute versus inclement weather.

That suit was suspended amidst an early contract agreement with the union, but the proposed contract was later rejected by the AMFA, Bloomberg reports.

AMFA accuses Southwest of pressuring mechanics to approve planes for service too quickly because planes that are grounded do not make money for the airline.

But the cascade of issues for Southwest has investors nervous.

The company meanwhile is grappling with what it called an "unprecedented number" of aircraft taken out of service for mechanical issues. He states, "For Southwest's leadership to connect the airline's self-declared "operational emergency" to collective bargaining negotiations is simply an attempt to divert attention away from the airline's safety issues". Southwest has claimed in the past that mechanics are purposefully causing issues as a way to force the company into negotiations.

"Since that time, the FAA has directed the development of a comprehensive solution to the methods and processes used by Southwest Airlines to determine this performance data", the FAA said. Southwest operates with the lowest ratio of technicians-to-aircraft of any major carrier.

The "operational state of emergency" memo came just days after Sens. Employees can be fired for missing work or consistently declining overtime without presenting a proper doctor's note.

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