The incident was spurred by nine flight cancellations that came as a result of a dispute between Spirit Airlines and the pilots association, CBS News reported. Jose Rodriguez, a Twitter user who witnessed the event, posted a video showing the scene as police officers appear to be arresting customers as others yell at the Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Three people were arrested and will face charges of inciting a riot, the Broward Sheriff’s Office said.
The labor dispute between Spirit and the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) goes beyond the Fort Lauderdale airport. More than 300 Spirit Airlines flights have been cancelled over the last week across the United States as a result, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the airline company on Monday. Eighty-one flights were canceled on Sunday alone.
Spirit Airlines has lost $8.5 million in revenue and the cancellations incurred “irreparable harm to its goodwill with its customers,” the lawsuit said. The lawsuit was filed against the ALPA, the associations’ Spirit Airlines Master Executive Council, and several individually named pilots.
A Spirit Airlines spokesperson said the Airline Pilots Association (ALPA) for “purposely and unlawfully disrupting the airline’s operations.”
“This is a result of unlawful labor activity by some Spirit pilots designed to disrupt Spirit operations for our customers, and by canceling multiple flights across our network,” Spirit Airlines spokesperson Paul Berry told TIME. “These pilots have put their quest for a new contract ahead of getting customers to their destinations and the safety of their fellow Spirit Team Members.”
The ALPA denied the accusations in a statement.
“Rather, ALPA and the Spirit pilots are continuing to do everything possible to help restore the company’s operations, which have experienced significant problems over the past several days,” an ALPA spokespersons said.
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