Southwest cancelled approximately 100 flights Tuesday as it
expanded the operational state of emergency it invoked late last week.
The carrier said that more than twice its typical number of
20 aircraft were out of service on Tuesday out of a fleet of approximately 750
"We are requiring all hands on deck to address
maintenance items so that we may promptly return aircraft to service and take
care of our customers," the airline said in a statement. Southwest
operates approximately 4,000 flights daily.
The maintenance issues have been caused by an unusually high
number of call-ins by Southwest maintenance workers, the Chicago Business
Journal reported over the weekend. In an internal memo obtained by the CBJ,
senior director of technical operations Lonnie Warren warned maintenance crew
that they could be fired if they called out without a valid reason. Workers
claiming to be ill would be required to provide a doctor's note upon their
return to work.
Southwest has been mired in negotiations with the union
representing its maintenance workers for six years.
On Tuesday, the carrier added its Dallas Love Field
maintenance base to the operational state of emergency it had already put in
effect in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Houston Hobby and Orlando.
"We're asking that customers check Southwest.com for
the latest on their specific flights as our operational planners are actively
working in the background to minimize impacts to their travel plans," the