Airline flight delays this summer are the result of mismanagement

Joseph G. DePete

With two-thirds of the country fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the lifting of the federal mask mandate, Americans are flying again. However, airline mismanagement has delayed and even canceled many travelers’ flights – and the situation is likely to get worse this summer.

Over Memorial Day weekend, U.S. airlines canceled more than 2,800 flights, according to the FlightAware tracking service. It’s likely a preview of the frustration and disappointment Americans will experience this summer as vacation plans and family reunions are cut short by flight delays and cancellations.

Taxpayers kept airlines afloat during the pandemic

Flight scheduling issues are particularly hard to swallow given that US airlines have been handed a multibillion-dollar federal bailout to allow them to prepare for this exact moment. The government has legitimately pulled every lever possible to support the US airline industry in preparing for the return of passengers to the skies.

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Congress provided more than $50 billion in subsidies to US airlines during the pandemic to prevent the industry from caving under the weight of a drastic and sustained reduction in air travel like never before.

In recognition of the importance of safe and efficient air travel to the country, federal assistance was aimed at enabling airlines to survive the economic downturn, retain their workforce and be ready for recovery. economy that we know today.

Following this package of federal aid, as well as the sacrifice of thousands of frontline aviation workers who answered their company’s call for early retirementsome US airlines started this year with less net debt than before the pandemic.

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Many airlines also fly to higher interior capacity levels in 2022 than in 2019. That’s right – because of the billions in taxpayer subsidies – there are American airlines that are in a better financial situation now than before COVID-19.

Despite this historic federal support, some US airlines have failed to properly prepare for the recovery. In fact, they are betting against a strong US recovery, bringing out thousands of pilots from the industry and inefficient management of training resources for their current employees.

Increase in flight delays and cancellations

This mismanagement now affects reliability, with a almost 65% increase in canceled or delayed flights.

Airline executives are now trying to distract the public by blaming others for their failures. The truth is that they have no one to blame but themselves. While a few have admitted that their failure to plan has led to employee training backlogs and operational meltdowns, others are trying to use this crisis of their own accord to weaken safety regulations that ensure pilots are properly qualified and trained.

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My porch is my summer sanctuary. I find happy memories, hope and peace.

Receiving a bailout from taxpayers, US airline executives promised to keep passengers flying. Now that the money is in the bank, they leave the passengers stranded at the gate.

Unless airlines get back on track, flight delays and cancellations will become more serious this summer. The highly trained and experienced airline pilots of this country are more than ready to fly. The question is: how much will the failure of US airlines to plan for recovery continue to cost their passengers?

Captain Joseph G. DePete is president of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, which represents more than 64,000 pilots who fly for 38 airlines in the United States and Canada.

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