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Memphis airport seeing busy fall travel period

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 10:49 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - This fall break, Memphis International Airport is handling passengers at rates that have not been seen since before the pandemic began.

Southwest Airlines passengers were once again met with delayed and canceled flights Tuesday, making it the fifth straight day of country-wide flight disruptions for the airline.

However, Memphis International Airport still saw the busiest five-day travel period since Christmas 2019.

Memphis International screened 22,800 people between last Thursday and Saturday, October 9. It was Sunday where they saw the effects of the canceled Southwest flights. The airport screened 700 less passengers than what was initially projected.

We reached out to Southwest Airlines about the delayed flights out of Memphis, and if they could be linked to reports that 9,000 pilots with the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association asked a federal court Friday to block the airline’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

In response, a representative with the company linked a press release on the Southwest Airlines Newsroom site where they state there were approximately 90 system-wide cancellations out of the airline’s almost 3,300 flights scheduled for Tuesday. The release also states “We extend our gratitude to our employees who have worked tirelessly to stabilize our operation.”

A spokesperson with the airline has previously gone on record with the Associated Press, saying that there was no evidence that would indicate the disruptions were caused by any sort of employee protest over vaccinations.

Orders from the White House have pushed airlines to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees. Southwest has ordered employees to be fully vaccinated by December 8.

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