Southwest pilot: Vaccine mandate at root of airline problems

(NewsNation) — Tuesday, when about 1,300 Southwest employees picketed Dallas Love Field Airport, Capt. Casey Murray — who is president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association — blamed management for the company’s staffing shortages and flight delays.

“You guys need to be asking Southwest Airlines, ‘What are you doing proactively?’ We’re still in the same spot that we were last summer. We’re still in the same spot that we were over the holidays,” he said.

During a segment of “On Balance with Leland Vittert” on Wednesday, however, the president of Southwest Freedom Flyers Inc — a grassroots collection of Southwest Airlines employees who oppose vaccine mandates — said the issue goes much higher up the chain of command.

“The question is, why are we having a staffing shortage? I believe it’s because of the COVID vaccines — they’re still requiring the vaccination for all new applicants and if the new applicants say they’re not going to get vaccinated, their application is passed over,” said Tom Bogart, who is also a Southwest pilot.

Like many airlines, Southwest was forced to cancel 20,000 flights planned for this summer, saying it would help them keep the remaining schedule. But flight delays and cancellations are still common.

“So you have highly qualified applicants who want to work here at the airline and there are airlines passing them over. I think it’s still stems back to (that issue). People like to forget about that. The executive order (mandating vaccines) is not dead,” he said.

Bogart maintains that despite staff shortages, safety is not a concern when traveling by air. The issue, he maintains, is quality of life.

“We love what we do. We’re passionate about what we do. And we don’t want to miss our family’s lives,” he said.

Watch the rest of the discussion above.

On Balance with Leland Vittert

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on NewsNation