Southwest Airlines has had to cancel over 2,000 flights since Friday as troubles persist on Monday.
The US's largest low-cost carrier has cancelled over 300 flights already on Monday as Americans celebrate Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day, according to data compiled by the FlightAware website. The problems began on Friday and snowballed through the weekend.
Alan Kasher, a top company executive, apologized for the mass disruptions in a memo to employees, saying he is "sorry for the struggles that you and our customers are experiencing, once again." He reiterated the company's stance that bad weather in Florida and air traffic controller problems were to blame for the fiasco.
That explanation was partly rebutted by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), which said in a statement that "no FAA air traffic staffing shortages have been reported since Friday."
"Flight delays amp; cancellations occurred for a few hours Friday PM due to widespread severe weather, military training, amp; limited staffing in one area of the Jacksonville en route center," it said on Twitter. "Some airlines continue to experience scheduling challenges due to aircraft and crews being out of place."
The mass cancellations have fueled speculation that they are the result of an employee walkout following Southwest's announcement last week that it would require all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Southwest Airlines must join our industry peers in complying with the federal government's COVID-19 vaccination directive,” Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines Chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “I encourage all Southwest Employees to meet the federal directive, as quickly as possible, since we value every individual and want to ensure job security for all.”