FILE- In this Feb. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Southwest is losing millions weekly in labour fight: CEO

Planes grounded by mechanics’ concerns

The CEO of Southwest Airlines says that a spike in planes grounded by mechanics’ concerns is costing the carrier millions each week by causing more delayed and cancelled flights.

Gary Kelly didn’t give a precise figure Tuesday, but said the financial damage prompted the airline’s lawsuit last week against the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, which Southwest claims is aiding an illegal work slowdown.

“The company filed suit against AMFA last week to recover those damages and prevent more from occurring,” Kelly said at a JPMorgan investor conference.

Southwest says some workers are writing up minor mechanical problems such as missing seat-row numbers and grounding planes to gain leverage in negotiations over a new labour contract. Mechanics rejected a proposed deal last year, and the sides remain apart on wages and outsourcing.

READ MORE: Blown Southwest jet engine showed ‘metal fatigue’

The union denies that mechanics are conducting a work slowdown. It says they are simply doing their job and keeping the airline safe.

In a statement posted Tuesday, the union said Kelly and Southwest are trying to “distract the public from Southwest’s own degrading safety standards.” The union accuses Southwest managers of improperly pressuring mechanics to approve planes for flying.

Southwest says the number of planes grounded for mechanical issues jumped from 14 a day to between 30 and 62 a day last month, forcing the Dallas-based airline to cancel some flights.

READ MORE: B.C.’s natural gas taxes deter new investment, study says

On Tuesday, Southwest cancelled more than 110 flights by mid-afternoon, far more than any other U.S. carrier, according to FlightAware. An airline spokeswoman estimated that at least half the cancellations were due to maintenance write-ups.

David Koenig, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

House fire in Whonnock area of Maple Ridge

Dewdney Trunk Road closed, traffic being re-routed

Coles-Lyster hits podium during Superweek

Maple Ridge cyclist to compete at Pan American Games

Sands wins another grueling uphill race

Maple Ridge woman holds record for the Grouse Grind

Classic cars on display in Memorial Peace Park in Maple Ridge

Vintage Car Club holds show next to Haney Farmers Market

Beach weather finally arrives in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

Sunshine in the forecast for most of the coming week

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

No estimated time for opening

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Man with gunshot wound walks into Langley hospital

Injury suffered in Surrey incident, police believe

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Most Read