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Spirit Airlines enters the third day in a row with major disruptions




(CNN) – Spirit Airlines enters for the third day in a row with more than half of its schedule reversed.

The low-cost carrier had canceled more than 40 percent of its schedule, or about 300 flights, as of Tuesday at noon, according to aviation tracking website FlightAware. Another 12% of its programming was delayed, FlightAware reported.

On Monday, cancellations and delays disrupted 71% of Spirit’s programming, and on Sunday 60% of its programming was canceled or delayed, FlightAware said.

The airline told CNN that it was proactively canceling flights due to “overlapping operational challenges, including weather, system outages and staff shortages in some areas.”

A source familiar with the airline’s operations said pressure on Spirit’s schedules had been rising for about a week. The delays, including those of various storm systems, caused flight crews to spend the number of hours they could work under federal safety regulations.

The struggle to find a new crew for individual flights finally ended with the hours of the replacement crew.

In recent days, problems have reached a turning point, the source said. Airline programmers spent Monday figuring out how to reset the system, rather than coping with the turmoil of the day.

The airline said it was “working 24 hours a day” to get back on the runway.

Intense storms in North Texas

Storms with gusts of windOn Sunday afternoon, frequent lightning and heavy rains swept through parts of North Texas. Authorities closed the aircraft ramps and changed plans for departure and arrival at Dallas Fort Worth Airport, where American Airlines is headquartered.

“The nine-hour weather event caused flight delays, cancellations and nearly 100 diversions,” American told CNN. The airline was found repositioning aircraft and crews trapped in other cities due to the problems.

Tuesday is usually one of the lightest travel days of the week, but alleged customers posting on Spirit’s social media accounts suggested that some travelers were expecting weekend cancellations to be rescheduled.

The leisure flight roars again

The number of daily flights to the United States generally remains lower than before the pandemic, as business travel and international travel remain at a fraction of what they used to be.

But leisure travel has matched or exceeded pre-pandemic levels on many routes, according to recent airline earnings reports. It’s even caused a fuel shortage recently at several western airports in the United States.

The disruption comes as airlines, especially low-cost airlines like Spirit, are adjusting to a wave of summer vacations following a drop in demand last year.

Sunday was the busiest day at the nation’s airports since the pandemic traveled by air, according to a count of checks from the Transportation Security Administration’s checkpoints.

Other airlines have canceled flights and asked employees to work extra shifts to cope with the summer rush.