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

Abbotsford water polo talent earns national gold

16U athletes Sarah Portas and Annika Reinfjell help lead Fraser Valley to first

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Langley’s oldest and last strip bar shuts its doors

The Alder Inn, in operation since 1957, has reportedly been purchased

Fraser Valley developer offering to build barn owl nesting boxes for free

Gore Brothers says anyone with a suitable building can help the threatened raptor

Fraser Valley Bandits winless streak hits eight

CEBL club still looking for first-ever franchise victory

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Victoria mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Dinosaur statues from defunct Dinotown theme park stolen in Chilliwack

The dinosaur figures once graced the theme park but were destined for Chilliwack fundraiser

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

Update: Show of support after pride flag was taken down by Township of Langley

Township statement said flag was removed due to “confusion” about whether it was on private property

Most Read