US airlines urge authorities to address flight delays and cancellations
The largest players in the US airline market are concerned about delays and flight cancellations for passengers. In this regard, American Airlines, a group representing American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines, appealed to the Department of Transportation, headed by Pete Buttigieg.
In addition, they also sent their question to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), headed by Michael Whitaker, asking "to take all possible actions to find an appropriate balance between commercial and private aviation transportation in order to minimize delays and cancellations for traveling passengers." According to devdiscourse, officials are being asked to address the shortage of private jet staff and air traffic controllers, which leads to delays and cancellations during the holidays.
The largest US players are asked to "take all possible measures to avoid additional staffing problems, especially in high volume centers" for air traffic control.
In turn, the FAA emphasized that airlines, general aviation and others "have seats in the Command Center, where the FAA monitors airspace 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and provides updated information every two hours."
"As air travel continues to recover, the agency is taking immediate steps to recruit, train and hire more air traffic controllers," the FAA said in a statement. According to the organization, the number of air traffic controllers is still about 3,000 below the optimal level.
The agency reported that according to statistics for December 20-27, 77% of delays were due to flight volumes, 19.1% were due to weather conditions, and 0.9% were due to staffing.
In turn, Transportation Secretary Buttigieg has predicted that this month the US will see the lowest number of flight cancellations in five years.
It is noted that the management continued to reduce the minimum requirements for flights at congested New York airports until October 2024 due to staff shortages.
According to statistics, the staffing level of the New York Terminal of the radar service is only 54% of the recommended level.
The staffing problem could affect air travel safety, according to airlines. At many facilities, controllers are working mandatory overtime and a six-day work week to cover the shortage. The Transportation Minister recently said he was appointing a commission to look into air traffic controller fatigue after a series of accidents.