Computer Issues Briefly Ground Southwest Airlines Flights Across The Country

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines

All Southwest Airlines flights were grounded Friday morning due to a computer issue, according to reports.

According to a statement issued by one of Southwest's top executives - Chief Operating Officer Mike Van de Ven - troubles began on February 12, 2019, just days after the carrier last held mediated contract talks with the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA), a union that represents almost 2,400 of the company's mechanics, who maintain the airline's overwhelming all-Boeing-737 fleet.

Passengers began reporting delayed flights as early as 5:30 a.m. (EST) via Twitter.

The airline responded to a flurry of tweets from disgruntled customers complaining about their cancelled flights and the computers being down. A short while later, a representative for Southwest Airlines told Fox News its "airport technology systems are performing normally and flights are boarding and departing".

In the last week, Southwest has found itself at the center of controversy ranging from grounded flights and resulting passenger delays to the disclosure of a yearlong investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration into baggage weighing practices. "There were no cancelations". The airline said 270 cancellations were weather-related.

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"Weather, along with a higher-than-average number of out-of-service aircraft, has resulted in approximately 80 cancelations today (2/22) out of almost 4000 flights scheduled".

"We ask that our Customers check Southwest.com for status updates on their individual flights and we're working to ensure their safe travel today". Over the last few days Southwest has been forced to cancel hundreds of flights either because of a maintenance "operations emergency" that the airline recently declared or because of winter weather happening across the country.

Southwest indicates it is after these negotiations that it saw "an unprecedented number" of out-of-service aircraft were driven primarily from its four maintenance bases in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Houston "by a subset of our entire mechanic workforce".

"AMFA has a history of work disruptions", Van de Ven said, implying that the union, which represents around 2,400 Southwest mechanics, may be purposefully impacting flight maintenance to get a stronger bargaining position on the company. "Southwest has two pending lawsuits against the union. We will be investigating this current disruption and exploring all possible remedies".

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