ARIZONA NEWS

Southwest Airlines flight disruptions continue at Phoenix Sky Harbor, around US

Oct 11, 2021, 7:39 AM | Updated: 10:16 am
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)...
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

PHOENIX – Hundreds of Southwest Airlines flights in or out of Phoenix’s main airport have been canceled or delayed as of Monday morning, as service disruption continued for a third day around the country.

Phoenix Sky Harbor’s website showed 125 canceled flights and 81 delayed since Sunday, the majority belonging to Southwest Airlines.

Tracking website FlightAware showed nine of the airline’s Monday flights out of the Phoenix airport were canceled and 30 were delayed, while 14 flights bound for the airport were canceled and 28 delayed.

Overall, according to FlightAware, the carrier has cancelled 347 flights Monday and delayed another 345 flights.

A spokesperson for Sky Harbor told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday, “We are seeing some Southwest cancellations due to disruptions in [Southwest’s] network elsewhere. We encourage travelers to check their flight status with their airline before coming to the airport.”

Trouble began Saturday. The Dallas, Texas-based airline tweeted there were issues with air traffic control and weather and flights could be disrupted.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which provides air traffic control services, took the unusual step of pushing back against Southwest’s explanation.

Southwest Airlines was the only airline to report such a large percentage of canceled and delayed flights over the weekend.

Southwest has struggled all summer with high numbers of delayed and canceled flights. In August it announced it was trimming its September schedule by 27 flights a day, or less than 1%, and 162 flights a day, or 4.5% of the schedule, from early October through Nov. 5.

Last week, Southwest became the latest airline to announce it was imposing a vaccine mandate on its staff. The company said its workers must be fully vaccinated by Dec. 8 in order to remain at the airline. Employees can seek approval to skip the shots due to medical or religious reasons.

SWAPA, the Southwest Airlines pilots union, said shortly afterwards that while it was not against vaccines, “This announcement and lack of detail only fuels a growing divide that continues to erode the already strained relationship between Southwest Airlines and its Pilots’ Union.”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Luke Forstner and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Southwest Airlines flight disruptions continue at Phoenix Sky Harbor, around US