Dear Captain Murray:
The airline industry, including Southwest Airlines (SWA), has experienced tremendous growth in flights this summer as people emerge from the Covid lockdowns. The problem has been that the available manpower to fly, attend, and maintain those flights has not kept pace with the growth in flight. To make matters worse, SWA Maintenance Tech-ops Senior Vice President implemented an entirely new Aircraft Maintenance recordkeeping and operational maintenance tracking system called Maintenix (MXi). This new system requires much more involvement than previous systems, and the steep learning curve is creating further delays. So far, there have been more than 100 data entry programming glitches identified affecting parts ordering, communications between systems, routine data entry, and recordkeeping. The unfamiliarity of the system combined with programming errors is making a bad problem even worse.
All these vital violations of status quo are creating unsustainable flight delays in operations, including increased aircraft maintenance ground time. This situation has left the Southwest Airlines pilots (SWAPA) without their normal accommodations, including hotels to spend the night in or meals to sustain them. It has also resulted in overworked, unsupported, and increasingly frustrated employees — a profound situation that can create safety issues for the flying public.
Management’s gross mishandling of these systemic and chronic issues is also affecting the flying public, as evidenced by the unprecedented number of canceled and delayed flights. Management has acknowledged the problems and claims to be addressing them, even though they are profoundly the cause. Grievances are a predictable outcome of over-scheduling flights and recurrent poor planning, and we must believe there was a conscious management decision to put shareholder interests ahead once again of the flying public and employee interests. While we appreciate management’s recognition of the problem, it remains to be seen whether they will put sanity and humanity before profits in finding solutions. If history is any indication of how this will play out, the smart money is on profits.
The Your Board of Directors Takes Action video message to SWAPA members outlining specific concerns as critical stakeholders exposes the mistreatment front line employees are having to endure.
AMFA stands staunchly with the SWAPA, and we ask that the public support all employees that are affected and join us in our quest for measured growth, where the number of flights and the number of employees remain appropriately aligned. In addition, we ask that you support us in accelerating the improvement of the faulty new software system. Management must dramatically change course to ensure the flying public will have a safe and comfortable flying experience.
For more information from AMFA, click the link below to visit AMFA National: https://www.amfanational.org/index.cfm?zone=/unionactive/view_article.cfm&HomeID=856245&page=Southwest20Airlines