View Full Version : SWA cancels hundreds of flights as it grapples with maintenance

20th Feb 2019, 03:51

Southwest Airlines continues to grapple with an "operational emergency" after an unusually high number of planes have been taken out of service.

The Dallas-based airline has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights since late last week because of mechanical problems with its fleet. Despite an "all hands on-deck" staffing policy for its mechanics, the company has not been able to resolve its problems.
In a statement on Tuesday, Southwest said there was no common theme to the issues facing its 750 airplanes and it was extending a staffing protocol instituted last week to "maximize availability" of mechanics.
"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," it said

A Squared
20th Feb 2019, 04:58
Is there a "fly safe" actions going on? are the pilots in contract negotiations?

SMT Member
20th Feb 2019, 06:25
Is there a "fly safe" actions going on? are the pilots in contract negotiations?

No, but the mechanics are and have been for a rather long time. Latest update was on the 8th of February, without a positive result. Latest vote was September 2018. where an overwhelming majority of the AFMA members voted no to the proposal.

20th Feb 2019, 09:13
SMT Member Do you have a link to a good factual article about the proposal to AFMA... Or even the proposal itself...? Am interested in knowing more about it. :ok: A0283

Zaphod Beblebrox
20th Feb 2019, 12:37
I have worked with the attorney who filed Whistle-Blower complaints with the US Department of Labor on maintenance issues. A whistle blower complaint, part of a recent congressional bill called Air21, provides that if a company takes retaliatory action against an employee who makes a valid safety complaint or report the company is fined and the employee’s employment status is returned to its former status, If he is fired, he gets his job back if demoted or reduced in pay he’s made whole and returned to prior pay status.

A letter from the law firm to the FAA is here:
I am aware that several whistle blower comlaints have been filed and that many of them have survived initial motions to dismiss, which is the first thing the company would do in response to a lawsuit. That means they are going to trial, the FAA is on notice, as evidenced by the letter above, and that SWA is pulling quipment out of services for maintenance purposes.

SWA as the carrier and legal entity makes the decision to pull an aircraft from service. If a management maintenance supervisor with a license won’t sign the airplane off and he disagrees with a line maintenance mechanic about an item, when then is SWA now self grounding airplane?

What’s the difference now from last year? The Trials will probably focus on what has happened but mechanics claim they are being pressured to sign things off as airworthy that should really be repaired and when the mechanics point out other discrepancies that will delay or ground a fight they are being retaliated against, hence the whistle-blower legal actions.

20th Feb 2019, 22:54
What went wrong with a company which previously enjoyed the best industrial relations in the aviation sector ?

20th Feb 2019, 23:07
What went wrong with a company which previously enjoyed the best industrial relations in the aviation sector ?

Herb died?

28th Feb 2019, 01:19
Herb must be rolling in his grave.Your employees come first. And if you treat your employees right, guess what? Your customers come back, and that makes your shareholders happy. Start with employees and the rest follows from that. —Herb KelleherMBA's don't have a clue.


1st Mar 2019, 16:47
It's not new, it's been going on since the handover. The best that can be said is that it's very gradual and, compared to other carriers, the team in general at WN haven't suffered from it yet. Still, yeah, you leave operations in charge of a company and they will eventually strangle it with a spreadsheet. Apple is a harsher example, but they were a more cutthroat company under Jobs, so it's to be expected. It's a shame to see, if it continues. Southwest truly is one of the last American companies you could truly admire. I hope that doesn't change. It won't be because of the people who work there, if it does, it'll be because of the management post-Kelleher/Muse/etc.