Southwest Airlines Stands Firm With Decision To Comply With Federal Vaccine Mandate

Business, Featured, National

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 taxing at Dallas Love Field. | Image by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgern, Special Contributor to USA Today

Southwest Airlines executives said that the airline would comply with President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate that requires employees to be vaccinated. While Texas Governor Greg Abbott has issued an executive order which bans private companies from mandating vaccines, the airline says it will go against the order.

Abbott, in his order, stated that no organization in the state can require COVID-19 vaccination proof from any individual who objects to the vaccine for any reason, be it “personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”

Abbott’s executive order means that organizations in Texas are now banned from mandating COVID-19 vaccines for their employees or consumers.

Executives at Southwest Airlines have announced that the Dallas-based airline giant will not comply with Gov. Abbott’s executive order as it directly contradicts President Biden’s vaccine mandate.

The airline said in a statement that federal action supersedes any state mandate or law, and it would have to comply with the President’s order if it wants to remain compliant as a federal contractor.

Southwest’s fellow airline outfit, American Airlines, also revealed that it would comply with Biden’s order and now expects all its employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Nov. 24 as planned.

“The federal vaccine mandate requires that all of American’s U.S.-based team members and certain international crew members be vaccinated, without the provision of a regular testing alternative,” the airline said in the statement, reiterating what it said last month.

The Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association filed a motion last week to block the airline’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for pilots. At the same time, Southwest Airlines saw thousands of flight cancellations and delays over the following weekend. The Dallas Express reported that the airline attributes the delays to mass weather cancellations out of Florida. The pilots union also said in a statement that the mandate was not responsible for those disruptions.

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