Southwest Airlines inspects planes following mechanics’ complaints on network TV news report

DENVER — Dozens of Southwest Airlines flights were cancelled across the country on Presidents’ Day due to weather and maintenance reasons.

The maintenance overhaul comes after a group of mechanics sounded the alarm earlier this month by going on national television. The mechanics told CBS News they have felt pressured to put planes back in service more quickly.

Denver International Airport says— even with the ongoing Southwest inspections— the total number of airline cancellations and delays at DIA on Monday was not out of the ordinary.

What’s been reportedly called an “operational emergency” by sources at Southwest Airlines unfolded as travelers journeyed over the holiday weekend.

Southwest says an uptick of out-of-service aircraft experiencing maintenance issues partly caused 80 cancellations nationwide Monday. At DIA, there were five Southwest departure cancellations between Saturday night and Monday evening.

The cancellations come after a CBS News investigation reported airline mechanics from American and Southwest said they felt pressured to overlook potential safety issues in order to keep flights moving on time. Southwest sources reported to news organizations more inspections are happening as a direct result of that Journalism.

“To take care of our customers, we continue to require all hands on deck to address maintenance items so that we may promptly return aircraft to service,” Southwest said in a statement released to FOX31.

Southwest is now in the midst of years-long contract negotiations with its mechanics. The Texas-based airline says its 80 cancellations on Monday amounted to two percent of its daily 4,000 departures.

 

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