Southwest Airlines is pointing the finger at its union mechanics for the recent troubles. Over 100 Southwest flights were canceled recently for maintenance reasons. Southwest is struggling to keep up with an unusually high number of aircraft taken out of service, but now says that a small group of about 100 mechanics is deliberately orchestrating an effort to slow down its operations.
An investigation by Southwest revealed that more than 60 Southwest 737s were “needlessly” taken out of service for “unscheduled maintenance,” CBS News reported. The average daily unscheduled aircraft downtime (hours a scheduled aircraft is removed from its flight to perform unscheduled maintenance) has increased drastically at several locations. It went up from 10 clocked hours to 60 hours per day in Orlando and from around 18 hours to 127 hours in Houston.
Contract negotiations are scheduled for March, but looks like an agreement is getting more difficult after the latest developments.
There’s been some bad press for Southwest recently as they look to launch flights to Hawaii. It was recently revealed that there’s an FAA investigation that’s been going on for over a year and just a few days ago all flights were grounded due to a computer glitch.