At least 1,800 flights were canceled by Southwest Airlines this weekend following air traffic control changes due to weather.
"We experienced significant impact in the Florida airports [Friday] evening after an FAA-imposed air traffic management program was implemented due to weather and resulted in a large number of cancellations," Alan Kasher, Executive Vice President Daily Operations, said in a statement several news outlets obtained on Saturday, according to The Epoch Times.
About 1,000 Southwest flights, or about 27% of its total, were canceled as of midday Sunday. On Saturday, about 800 flights were canceled by Southwest, according to the flight-tracking website FlightAware.
Compared to Southwest, American Airlines canceled 63 flights, or 2% of its schedule, while Spirit Airlines canceled 32 flights, or 4% of its operation, Airways Magazine reported.
"We are working hard behind the scenes to minimize challenges and fully recover the operation as we take care of displaced Crews and Customers as quickly as possible," according to Southwest's statement on Saturday.
Social media speculation claimed that the flight cancelations were due to employees calling in sick en masse. However, Southwest's pilot union, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, appeared to dispute that speculation in a statement, saying they are "aware of operational difficulties affecting Southwest Airlines today due to a number of issues, but we can say with confidence that our Pilots are not participating in any official or unofficial job actions.
"Our Pilots will continue to overcome [Southwest Airlines] management's poor planning, as well as any external operational challenges, and remain the most productive Pilots in the world," the statement continued. "They will continue to be focused on their highest priority—safety."