Southwest Airlines isn’t having a good month, to say the least.
Today, the airline announced it had a airlines-cuts-revenue-outlook-on-government-shutdown-hit.html” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>$60 million hit in revenue due to the government shutdown, and on Monday, it came out that the airlines/southwest-under-investigation-for-weight-and-balance-calculations.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow”>airline’s weight and balance calculations are under investigation by the FAA.
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Now it appears the airline has canceled hundreds of flights and it may have something to do with Southwest declaring an operational emergency last week.
According to Flightaware.com, Southwest has canceled 431 flights today which is about 11 percent of their entire operations. This is on top of 346 flights being delayed. On Tuesday, they canceled 191 flights and delayed another 900 flights.
Apparently, half of the flight cancellations in the past few days have been due to maintenance issues, though it’s unclear how much of the winter weather disruptions in different areas of the U.S. are to cause for some of the flight cancellations today.
According to Southwest, most of the fault lies with their mechanics. Southwest Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Van said, “We apologize to our customers who have been inconvenienced by this disruption,” and pointed to the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association as the cause for the current disruption in their work. Southwest has two outstanding lawsuits against the AMFA.
The union was quick to reply to Southwest’s claims.
“Southwest Airlines scapegoating of its expert aircraft maintenance technicians does not bode well for the airline’s safe operations,” Bret Oestreich, national director of AMFA, said in a statement. “Safety is, and always will be, our number one priority.”
Regardless of who is to blame, travelers should check their flights before heading to the airport today, and seemingly in the near future, until Southwest Airlines gets back on track.
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IATA: Damage to Air Travel Will Extend Into 2023
Any comeback by the beleaguered airline industry will extend into 2023, according to new data released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the airlines’ main trade group.
Long-haul travel will continue to lag behind and passenger fears about flying in general will contribute to the delay, Lonely Planet reported.
IATA estimates that passenger traffic won’t rebound to pre-crisis levels until at least 2023. It expects that global passenger demand in 2021 will be 24 percent below 2019 levels and 32 percent lower than the forecast the association made in October 2019.
The new data is based on a slower opening of economies and relaxation of travel restrictions. Lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders could return if the virus comes back strong in the fall and winter with a second wave, as some health officials have predicted.
In addition, another contributing factor is quarantine measures that have been instituted by various countries as well as individual states in the U.S. According to IATA, 69 percent of recent travelers that it surveyed said they would not consider traveling if it involved a 14-day quarantine period once they arrive at their destination. IATA is asking governments to find alternatives to the quarantine measures.
Of course, all of this is contingent upon the public’s willingness to fly—and instilling confidence in that will take time, said IATA’s director general and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac.
“To protect aviation’s ability to be a catalyst for the economic recovery, we must not make that prognosis worse by making travel impracticable with quarantine measures,” he said. “We need a solution for safe travel that addresses two challenges. It must give passengers the confidence to travel safely and without undue hassle, and it must give governments confidence that they are protected from importing the virus.”
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