Southwest Airlines faces an "operational emergency"

20 Février, 2019, 16:09 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
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That's a five-fold increase over the average number of flights the company is usually prepared to remove from service due to maintenance issues, reports CNBC.

"Southwest believes the controls and procedures we implemented throughout 2018 have enhanced our weight and balance program and resolved the issues that we originally reported to the FAA", the airline added.

The dueling statements came after Southwest said it cancelled about 180 of its 4,000 flights Tuesday, with more than twice the number of aircraft as usual being taken out of service for maintenance.

A top Southwest Airlines Co executive said the low-priced carrier would investigate why the number of aircraft unable to fly due to mechanical issues had doubled in recent days, causing flight delays and cancellations.

It's not clear why so many Southwest planes are requiring service, but the airline is anxious delays to its flights could increase if the planes can't be fixed fast enough.

What's been reportedly called an "operational emergency" by sources at Southwest Airlines unfolded as travelers journeyed over the holiday weekend.

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"We are requiring all hands on deck to address maintenance items so that we may promptly return aircraft to service", the airline said.

John Goglia, a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board told CBS News, "This kind of stress on the operation is not good". The spike in out-of-service planes follows our CBS News investigation into mechanics' complaints of undue pressure to put aircraft back in service faster.

In a statement on Tuesday, Southwest said there was no common theme to the issues facing its 750 airplanes and it was extending a staffing protocol instituted last week to "maximize availability" of mechanics.

"We will be investigating this current disruption and exploring all possible remedies", Van de Ven said. "I have the highest confidence in the work that our mechanics do, and also that any issue that's brought up, any issue, is dealt with appropriately".

Southwest is now in the midst of years-long contract negotiations with its mechanics. "At the same time, our operational planners are actively working in the background to minimize the impact to our Customers". The CBS report exposed a problem so severe that two United States Senators have called for a congressional investigation.

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