Controversy in airlines, FAA over flight delays before July 4

Passengers wait to board a plane at Miami International Airport on April 22, 2022 in Miami, Florida.

Danielle Slim | AFP | Getty Images

Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration are pointing fingers at each other over rising rates of flight cancellations and delays, as millions prepare for the July 4th travel weekend, which officials expect to be the busiest in three years .

On Friday, Airlines for America, which represents the nation’s largest airlines including Delta, American, United and Southwest, agreed with Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to air traffic controller staffing for the summer and other potential hurdles such as space launches and military exercises. Requested another meeting to discuss. ,

Nick Calio, CEO of Airlines for America, wrote in the letter, “The industry is actively and deftly making every effort to create a positive customer experience because it is in the airline’s vested interest to keep customers happy, so they Return for future business.”

Despite government aid, airlines are grappling with staff shortages after a sharp jump in demand for travel that prevented them from laying off workers during the pandemic. Also, Covid-19 slowed down the training of air traffic controllers.

Both factors have made it difficult to navigate the regular issues of thunderstorms during spring and summer as the Covid-19 infection continues to sideline staff and frustrate travelers eager for vacation.

American airlines have reduced their June-August schedule by 15% compared to their original plans, the letter from Airlines for America said.

United announced Thursday that it will cut 50 daily flights from its Newark Liberty International Airport hub in New Jersey starting next month in an effort to reduce congestion and delays. Delta, JetBlue, Spirit and Frontier airlines have also cut schedules.

The FAA shot back at airlines for urging thousands of employees to go shopping or take a leave of absence during the pandemic, despite federal aid.

“People expect that when they buy airline tickets they will get where they need to go in a safe, efficient, reliable and economical way,” the agency said in response to A4A’s letter. “After receiving $54 billion in pandemic relief to help avoid massive layoffs and bankruptcy, the American people deserve to live up to their expectations.”

The FAA has said it has increased the workforce at a major air traffic control center in Florida and has added alternative routes to ease congestion.

Brett Snyder, founder of the Cranky Flir travel website, said: “It’s hard to make a mistake because everyone’s at fault.”

“Because the demand is so high, airlines are trying to fly as many as possible,” Snyder said. “People think fares are high now, imagine if airlines fly less.”


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