Southwest faces maintenance crisis

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Southwest is usually a happy airline, cabin crew are well-known for their humour and helpfulness, it has a highly loyal customer base. However not all is well in the engineering department.

The airline blames the negotiations with the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association, and its members trying to force the airlines hand by not turning up for work. The result was “an unprecedented number” of aircraft out of service at any one time, which the airline sees as unacceptable.

20 aircraft are normally under maintenance on any one day, but over the last few days, that has doubled to around 40.

Southwest have told their mechanics, to either turn up for work or face termination, a stance that hasn’t gone down too well with the union or its employees.

Southwest has a habit of outsourcing some of its maintenance work and that is at the core of the problem for the union, but it’s also a threat in the background – what if the airline went completely to outsourced maintenance?

The airline is saying that Southwest is bullying its members with veiled and not so veiled threats, but both claim they are working fully to maintain the airline’s aircraft.

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