DENVER (KDVR) – The Denver International Airport had several disgruntled customers lined up Christmas Eve morning as the nationwide flight delay and cancellation issues escalated to a new level, especially for one airline in particular.

On Saturday morning, Southwest Airlines said they are operating under a “State of Operational Emergency.”

As of 1:42 p.m. on Saturday, FlightAware data shows that of all the Southwest Airlines flights departing from Denver International Airport there have been:

  • 123 canceled flights
  • 171 delayed flights

FOX31 reached out to the airline to get clarification on why this declaration was made.

“The operational emergency you’re referencing are actually emergency sick procedures …when that occurs, it puts parameters in place—like requiring a doctor’s note when an Employee returns to work if they call in sick—so that we can ensure Reliability for our Customers by having the necessary amount of available, working staff,” the Southwest Airlines PR Team told FOX31.

This is a developing story and FOX31 will update it as more information is made public by officials from the airline and DEN.