FILE- In this Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Southwest is losing millions weekly in labour fight: CEO

Planes grounded by mechanics’ concerns

The CEO of Southwest Airlines says that a spike in planes grounded by mechanics’ concerns is costing the carrier millions each week by causing more delayed and cancelled flights.

Gary Kelly didn’t give a precise figure Tuesday, but said the financial damage prompted the airline’s lawsuit last week against the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, which Southwest claims is aiding an illegal work slowdown.

“The company filed suit against AMFA last week to recover those damages and prevent more from occurring,” Kelly said at a JPMorgan investor conference.

Southwest says some workers are writing up minor mechanical problems such as missing seat-row numbers and grounding planes to gain leverage in negotiations over a new labour contract. Mechanics rejected a proposed deal last year, and the sides remain apart on wages and outsourcing.

READ MORE: Blown Southwest jet engine showed ‘metal fatigue’

The union denies that mechanics are conducting a work slowdown. It says they are simply doing their job and keeping the airline safe.

In a statement posted Tuesday, the union said Kelly and Southwest are trying to “distract the public from Southwest’s own degrading safety standards.” The union accuses Southwest managers of improperly pressuring mechanics to approve planes for flying.

Southwest says the number of planes grounded for mechanical issues jumped from 14 a day to between 30 and 62 a day last month, forcing the Dallas-based airline to cancel some flights.

READ MORE: B.C.’s natural gas taxes deter new investment, study says

On Tuesday, Southwest cancelled more than 110 flights by mid-afternoon, far more than any other U.S. carrier, according to FlightAware. An airline spokeswoman estimated that at least half the cancellations were due to maintenance write-ups.

David Koenig, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Conservation Officers seek public assistance

A mule deer buck was poached within Elkford town limits

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Editorial – Voters think little of political opportunism

John Horgan is playing a very cynical game with his own government’s health message

Annual Elk Valley Pride Festival paints the town rainbow

Festivities began with a spirited Pride Bike Parade and flag raising ceremony

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read