In a tweet on Sunday night, the Texas senator shared a story about Southwest Airlines canceling flights, which it maintained was due to bad weather and air traffic control issues.
He wrote, “Joe Biden’s illegal vaccine mandate at work!”
“Suddenly, we’re short on pilots [and] air traffic controllers,” Cruz added.
He also included the hashtag “Thanks Joe.”
Joe Biden’s illegal vaccine mandate at work!
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 10, 2021
Over the weekend, Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights as it cited bad weather and issues with air traffic control.
ATC issues and disruptive weather have resulted in a high volume of cancellations throughout the weekend while we work to recover our operation. We appreciate your patience as we accommodate affected Customers, and Customer Service wait times are longer than usual. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/o1scQJ5lLb
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) October 9, 2021
In a statement to Fox Business, a spokesman for the airline said, “We experienced weather challenges in our Florida airports at the beginning of the weekend, challenges that were compounded by unexpected air traffic control issues in the same region, triggering delays and prompting significant cancellations for us beginning Friday evening.”
“We’ve continued diligent work throughout the weekend to reset our operation with a focus on getting aircraft and crews repositioned to take care of our customers,” the spokesman continued. “With fewer frequencies between cities in our current schedule, recovering during operational challenges is more difficult and prolonged. We’re working diligently to accommodate our customers as quickly as possible, and we are grateful for their patience.”
However, a spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration told the network, “No FAA air traffic staffing shortages have been reported since Friday. Flight delays and cancellations occurred for a few hours Friday afternoon due to widespread severe weather, military training, and limited staffing in one area of the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center.”
“Some airlines continue to experience scheduling challenges due to aircraft and crews being out of place,” the spokesperson added.
Cruz’s comments referred to Biden’s new COVID-19 vaccine requirements, which many speculated had caused the cancellations.
However, the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said the cancellations were “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,” it added. “Our Pilots will continue to overcome SWA management’s poor planning, as well as any external operational challenges, and remain the most productive Pilots in the world.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.