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

BC Superweek cycling series set to kick off in North Delta

At Tour de Delta, California-based Kendall Ryan will aim to repeat last summer’s three-race win

Street dance competition outdoors in Surrey on first day of summer break

DJ, prizes, activities, a food truck and more Friday at Surrey City Hall Plaza

‘Epic’ Surrey Pride party to celebrate 20th anniversary at Central City Plaza

Planners of family-friendly event don’t welcome nudity

Surrey city council cost taxpayers nearly $1M in 2018

That includes more than $151,372 in expenses from the former council

Judge adjusts Charter award in RCMP assault case in Surrey

Former Surrey hotel manager was awarded $65,000 in damages after RCMP assaulted him

VIDEO: Tributes flow on 10th anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death

Jackson received a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol on June 25, 2009. He died at age 50

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Tsilhqot’in Nation urges Taseko Mines to stop drilling plans before conflict grows

Nation said Teztan Biny area is of ‘profound cultural and spiritual importance’

Vancouver Aquarium drops cetacean ban lawsuit in new lease agreement

Ocean Wise CEO Lasse Gustavsson called the updated lease an exciting new chapter for the aquarium

Plane veers off runway, into ditch at Langley Airport

Fire, ambulance, and police are on scene

Okanagan RCMP bike patrol rolls up on alleged stolen vehicle from Burnaby

The driver, a 30-year-old Kelowna man, has been held in custody and is facing possible charges of possession of stolen property and obstructing a police officer

Man arrested after pimping investigation in Whistler

A 44-year-old man has been charged with procuring and benefiting from sexual services

Thieves steal two $40K chairs featuring gold serpents from B.C. furniture store

Chairs believed to be the only two of its kind in Canada, police said

Most Read