- Senator Ted Cruz took to Twitter to blame President Joe Biden for mass cancellations of flights over weekend
- Southwest Airlines cancelled more than 1,000 flights Sunday, and 808 Saturday, leaving passengers stranded
- The Dallas-based airline said air traffic control staff shortages and poor weather lead to the nixed flights
- President of Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said delays were due to staffing and a ‘poorly run operation’
- Cancellations came two days after the firm’s pilots’ union asked a court to block a COVID vaccine mandate, sparking rumors that a pilot walk-out had been to blame for the cancellations
- Rumors have swirled on social and traditional media that pilots may have walked out over the mandate
- On Sunday, Jacksonville Aviation Authority COO Tony Cugno refuted the rumor in a letter, saying that the delays were in fact due to staffing issues at the Jacksonville International Airport
- He claimed that many controllers had been getting their first or second COVID-19 vaccinations, which required them to take two days off to recover – leaving JAX air control short staffed
By Charlotte Mitchell and Michelle Thompson | 10 October 2021
DAILY MAIL — Senator Ted Cruz has blamed what he called an ‘illegal vaccine mandate’ for mass flight cancellations by Southwest Airlines, which left thousands of passengers stranded over the weekend.
Cruz took to Twitter on Sunday to share an article on the nearly 2,000 cancellations by the airline, writing: ‘Joe Biden’s illegal mask mandate at work!
‘Suddenly, we’re short on pilots & air traffic controllers.’
Cruz’s comments came amid speculation regarding the cause of the mass cancellations, with a pilot’s union blaming a ‘poorly run operation’ while the airline pointed to bad weather and staff being off after getting vaccinated.
The cancellations came two days after the firm’s pilots’ union asked a court to block a COVID vaccine mandate, sparking rumors that a pilot walk-out had been to blame for the cancellations.
Rumors have swirled on social and traditional media that pilots may have walked out over the mandate.
The Dallas-based carrier cancelled more than 1,000 flights on Sunday and 808 on Saturday – equivalent to 27 per cent of its entire schedule for the day – over the holiday weekend.
By comparison, on Sunday, American Airlines cancelled two per cent of its flights while Spirit Airlines axed two per cent of theirs, according to FlightAware.
The president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association told News4Jax that the delays were due to staffing and a ‘poorly run operation.’
Meanwhile, Southwest blamed a combination of inclement weather and staffing shortages at Jacksonville Air Traffic Control Center in Florida for the disruption. […]