Delays and cancellations have plagued air traffic, and the weekend of July 4 may be the biggest test yet for the airline industry, which has been criticized by customers, regulators and investors.
The industry has not yet fully recovered from the depth of the pandemic. Airlines, eager to cut costs and uncertain about the future of travel, stopped hiring and handing out early retirement packages.
utilities, they are clamberingthe DealBook newsletter reports† On Thursday, American Airlines CEO Robert Isom said the company… offered pilots pay increases of almost 17 percent in total as part of the fierce talent war.
Other airline executives have weighed in on workforce challenges. “Most airlines simply won’t be able to realize their capacity plans because there simply aren’t enough pilots, at least not for the next five years,” United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said in April.
Airlines blame the FAA for its own staff shortages and pandemic-related absences.
“If we look at our operations this year compared to three years ago,” Frontier CEO Barry Biffle told DealBook, “the No. 1 issue that has impacted our operations is air traffic control.”
Airline representatives met with the FAA on Thursday to discuss travel interruptions†
Regardless of who is to blame, passengers are angry. They filed 3,173 complaints against US airlines in April, according to a recent report from the Transport Department, on things like refunds, delays and baggage. That is almost three times as many complaints as a year earlier.
Investors are also dissatisfied with other challenges, such as rising fuel prices. Shares of most major U.S. airlines have fallen about 30 percent this year.
Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, asks Pete Buttigieg, the transportation secretary, to require airlines to pay fines of $15,000 per passenger for certain delays not related to the weather. House Republicans want Mr Buttigieg to explain the government plans to deal with the plane crash.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian posted on Thursday that seemed like an attempt to pre-empt any travel pain: “If you’ve experienced delays and cancellations recently, my apologies.”