Spirit Airlines cancellations stretch into fourth day
Spirit Airlines canceled hundreds of flights for the fourth straight day Wednesday as it struggles with widespread system outages, poor weather and staffing shortages.
As of Wednesday morning, Spirit had canceled nearly 340 flights, or about half of its scheduled ones, according to tracking service FlightAware. That’s after the airline canceled 61 percent of its Tuesday flights and 42 percent of its Monday flights. On Sunday, 60 percent of its flights were either canceled or delayed.
“After working through yesterday’s proactive cancellations, we’ve implemented a more thorough reboot of the network, allowing us to reassign our crews more efficiently and restore the network faster,” Spirit said in a statement Wednesday. “As a result, cancellation numbers will progressively drop in the days to come.”
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents 4,500 Spirit flight attendants, said union officials met with Spirit executives Tuesday to discuss ways to restore the airline’s full operation.
Spirit’s cancellations accounted for about two-thirds of U.S. cancellations Wednesday, according to FlightAware, indicating that other airlines are faring better.
American Airlines also dealt with hundreds of cancellations in recent days, but it canceled just 3 percent of its flights as of Wednesday morning. The airline blamed cancellations on recent storms in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, while its pilots union accused management of not retaining enough employees to accommodate the post-pandemic recovery.
Since June, airlines have canceled or delayed thousands of flights as they scrambled to accommodate a surge in summer passengers.
The Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2.2 million U.S. passengers on Sunday. That’s the highest figure the agency reported since the start of the pandemic, and down just 17 percent from the same day in 2019.
Airlines and airports have struggled to find enough workers to meet rising demand despite receiving $54 billion in federal aid to keep employees on their payrolls during the pandemic. All of the leading U.S. airlines received aid, including Spirit, American, Delta and United.
—Updated at 1:08 p.m.