- Southwest Airlines COVID-19 vaccination mandate had “zero” connection to weekend flight cancellations.
- The objective of the Southwest Airlines vaccine mandate is to improve health and safety, not for people to lose their jobs.
- Southwest Airlines is based in Dallas, Texas and could face a tough response for defying a state executive order.
Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, today, vowed to defy Texas ban on COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
During Tuesday interview, Kelly insisted that that Southwest Airlines COVID-19 vaccination mandate had “zero” connection to thousands of flight cancellations over the weekend and a union lawsuit against the company, and that the airline has “no issue” with its employees.
“We’re urging all of our employees to get vaccinated. If they can’t, we’re urging them to seek an accommodation, either for medical or religious reasons, but my goal obviously is that no one loses their job,” Kelly said, explaining that the objective of the Southwest Airlines vaccine mandate is “to improve health and safety, not for people to lose their jobs.”
“Yes, we have some very strong views on that topic, but that’s not what was at issue with Southwest Airlines over the weekend,” he continued, in reference to the flight cancellations and delays. Instead, the CEO seemingly doubled down on blaming air-traffic-control staff and weather in Florida, and vaguely referred to “absenteeism” as one of the issues they monitor.
Kelly also said on Tuesday that he had “never been in favor of corporations imposing” vaccine mandates, but claimed “the executive order from President Biden mandates that all federal employees” and “all federal contractors” – which, in his opinion, “covers all the major airlines” – have to implement mandatory vaccination by December 8.
By vowing to continue with its vaccine mandate, however, Southwest Airlines appears to be defying an executive order issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday which prohibits private companies from requiring COVID-19 vaccination for employees.
Southwest Airlines is based in Dallas, Texas, so it could face a tough response for defying a state executive order.