Southwest Airlines Co.’s cancellation of 250 flights at Midway Airport Feb 11 was the third time in two months that a shortage of de-icing fluid has complicated the carrier’s Chicago operations.
Heavy snows forced Southwest to use much more than the normal amount of glycol to remove ice and snow from planes that parked at the airport overnight, eating away at the carrier’s supply, Anthony Gregory, vice president of ground operations and provisioning, said in an interview.
Matters were made worse when air seeped into pumps, blocking Southwest from accessing some of the remaining glycol in storage tanks. Unable to secure more, and with additional icing in the forecast, the airline decided to cancel most of flights at Midway.
“What we saw this weekend in Chicago was because of the supply challenges we’ve had with our vendor,” Gregory said. “We’ve had to secure additional vendors to bring Midway sufficient supply.” Midway is Southwest’s largest
airport by number of flights.