Southwest CEO Says ‘Zero’ Flights Canceled Due to Vaccine ‘Protests,’ Blames Biden For Jab Requirements
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly on Monday denied that protests over a Covid-19 mandate played any role in widespread flight cancellations and blamed President Joe Biden for the imposition on his employees.
“I’ve never been in favor of corporations imposing that kind of a mandate,” Kelly said in a morning interview with CNBC. “I’m not in favor of that, never have been. But the executive order from President Biden mandates that all federal employees and then all federal contractors which covers all major airlines have to have a vaccine mandate in place by December 8.”
Southwest on Tuesday was experiencing its fifth consecutive day of operational problems that have led to the cancellation of thousands of flights, including 29 percent of its flights over the weekend. The airline has said the problems had multiple causes, ranging from weather to operational issues.
The turmoil has been attributed by some to rumors of protests by pilots and other staff against the company’s mandate requiring them to receive Covid-19 vaccines. The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, a union, has filed a lawsuit against the airline over the matter.
The president of the union denied the current problems were caused by any protests.
Kelly also rejected the idea that such protests played a role in the cancellations, saying the problems involved with rescheduling flights had become self-perpetuating.
“By the end of the day, we have significant numbers of airplanes and flight crews that were totally out of position,” Kelly added. “And … as any aviation expert knows, it just takes several days to get everything back aligned.”
Watch above via CNBC.
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