Sun. Jun 26th, 2022

Airline CEOs, Buttigieg to meet as flight disruptions persist

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will meet virtually on Thursday with the chief executives and other senior leaders of the major U.S. airlines, FOX Business has confirmed.

Buttigieg plans to talk with major and regional airline leaders about “plans to ensure safe and reliable service this summer, including their plans to ensure this service over” the July 4 holiday, sources told Reuters.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (C) speaks during a news conference marking six months since the signing of the bipartisan infrastructure bill in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on May 16, 2022 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Following nearly 2,800 flight cancellations over Memorial Day weekend, Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey sent letters to the Transportation Department and Airlines for America on June 2 demanding answers about the cause of the disruptions and steps being taken to notify and refund passengers for flights. 

“While some flight cancellations are unavoidable, the sheer number of delays and cancellations this past weekend raises questions about airline decision-making,” the senators wrote. 

Blumenthal and Markey called on the airline industry and DOT to take action to mitigate future delays and cancellations, including early notifications to flyers in case of expected inclement weather.

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Airlines for America CEO Nicholas Calio said in a June 10 letter responding to Blumenthal and Markey that, like other industries across the economy, airlines are “adapting to labor shortages, supply chain dynamics and other pandemic related challenges. “

“Because of that, airlines are aggressively pursuing several options to align schedules with workforce availability,” he added. “Specifically, air carriers are taking great care to reduce their summer flight schedules while also accelerating efforts to hire and train new employees to meet the strong resurgence in travel demand.”

Calio said that the Federal Aviation Administration “must also work to ensure that the air traffic control system is capable of meeting demand.” 

Representatives for the FAA did not immediately return FOX Business’ request for comment.

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As of the time of publication on Thursday, more than 7,000 flights have been delayed and 2,000 canceled, according to FlightAware. Over 1,800 of the delayed flights and 700 of the canceled flights were scheduled to travel within, into or out of the United States.



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