CHICAGO (NewsNation) — As airlines across the country experience quality issues, Casey Murray, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilot Association (SWAPA), maintains that the roots of the problem go back to the cockpit.
“Well, we’ve actually seen a disturbing trend that started last summer. What’s happening is Southwest is having trouble connecting pilots to planes,” Murray said on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour” show.
And it’s not just the southwest. American, JetBlue and Spirit have also faced difficulties, canceling thousands of flights after technology and weather issues, leaving travelers stranded and seeking help across the country.
Last week in Florida, passengers struggled to reach their destinations due to staffing issues and weather. This was the case in Boston. And on Friday, in Las Vegas, Spirit workers were picketing for mass flight cancellations. Similar protests took place in Orlando and Dallas this month.
According to Murray, it’s a problem that stems from computer issues and the planning process that gets pilots to where they need to be.
“Once we start to see delays, once we start to see weather issues, it took Southwest five, six, seven days to recover, and our customers are the ones paying the price,” a- he declared.
This week, in fact, Murray wrote an open letter to South West leaders stating that fatigue cases among SWAPA members are up 200% from last year with more dramatic increases in recent months. , and that there is a real security issue that needs to be addressed.
NewsNation has contacted Southwest about Murray’s letter. The airline said the sharp increase in pilot fatigue calls is the result of the system operating as intended.
But Murray said it wasn’t that simple.
“Well, the system works and our pilots make sure it works and they fly as safely as possible. But the fact that it works so well is indicative of a deeper issue: the number of drivers and how they are used,” he said.
Murray added that Southwest’s waiver of pilot use is something he identified four years ago, something he tried to get the airline to address.
“The reason for the open letter — which is something we take very, very seriously — was that we haven’t seen any (change) and we believe our guests deserve better,” Murray said.
Murray said SWAPA’s goal is to make sure trends don’t continue and see worse problems over the summer.
As for a solution, Murray said his organization is in talks with Southwest executives and hopes to see fewer cancellations.
“All we want is for the airline to operate as safely and as efficiently as possible and to make sure that we don’t continue to see our customers not getting to where they want to be,” he said. he declares.