Southwest Slips After Cancelling 1,800 Flights Over Bad Weather, Staffing

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Southwest Slips After Cancelling 1,800 Flights Over Bad Weather, Staffing
Credit: © Reuters.

By Dhirendra Tripathi – Southwest Airlines stock (NYSE: LUV ) fell 2% in Monday’s premarket trading after cancelling 1,800 flights over the weekend that hit the travel plans of thousands of passengers and left even crew members without hotel rooms.

Bad weather, issues related to air traffic control and shortage of staff all combined to make it a bad weekend for the airline and its passengers.

According to the airline, it was adequately staffed to handle the weekend traffic but ATC issues and bad weather conditions across Florida could not be foreseen.

Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center, which controls airspace in parts of Alabama, Georgia, Florida and North and South Carolina faced weather and staffing issues which made traffic management for airlines even more onerous on Friday.

Southwest said operations would be close to normal by Sunday but that wasn’t to be.

The company rejected suggestions that staff shortages could be due to protests at the airline management's Covid vaccine mandate.

The disruptions hint at the ongoing difficulties of returning the air travel sector to anything like pre-pandemic normality. An immediate rise in travel numbers after the reopening of the economy in the spring quickly ran into renewed problems with high transmission rates for Delta-variant Covid-19. On the plus side, international travel routes have started to open up as authorities on both sides of the Atlantic have eased quarantine restrictions.



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