Transportation Secretary Buttigieg says air travel system is ‘very fragile’

(CNN) — Air traffic disruptions have plagued summer travelers, and last weekend was no exception.

Friday was the worst cancellation date since mid-June, with 1,613 US flights canceled, according to data from flight-tracking site FlightAware. And the cancellations piled up over the weekend.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is frustrated by the continued air travel disruptions and is calling on travelers to share their experiences.

Buttigieg acknowledged that this weekend’s bad weather disrupted air travel, but “shouldn’t have created such a ripple effect through the system.

Buttigieg told CNN’s “New Day” news program that “needed improvements have yet to be seen, which shows that the system is very fragile.”

He said the “human factor” was the biggest contributor to air traffic disruptions.

“We don’t have enough crew, especially pilots, to do the job. Of course, airlines have a duty to service the tickets they sell,” Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg Interview with the airline by July 4thcalling for more realistic schedules, more pilot training and faster customer service. I was.
The Department of Transportation last week proposed rules to expand protections for travelers seeking refunds, and the secretary weigh in public About the rules file a complaint If the airline does not respond.
Proposed rule In addition to enhancing pandemic-related consumer protections, we will better define cases where flights are significantly changed or canceled to provide a clearer path to refunds.

“Good start”

A post of the proposed rule on received more than 400 comments Wednesday morning.

One commenter, Natalia Villegas, agreed that more consumer protection is needed.

“Current rulings as to when a consumer is entitled to compensation are so vague that it is almost impossible for a consumer to receive any compensation,” Villegas wrote, adding: mentioned the year-long struggle of

Another commenter said it was a “good start” but “not far enough”.

Buttigieg told CNN his biggest frustration has been cancellations, noting that his own flight was canceled on Friday.

Buttigieg acknowledged public dissatisfaction with airlines receiving federal bailouts during the pandemic.

“I don’t think many passengers realize that over $50 billion is spent keeping these businesses going. And when demand comes back, they’re going to meet that demand or We are not ready to serve you.”

He said jobs are returning in most areas, but airlines are still short of pilots. Recent wage increases implemented by some regional airlines should help recruit and retain more pilots, he said.

But it will likely be some time before the pilot shortage is resolved, an analyst recently told CNN.

“Many pilots have retired. It’s not easy to replace them,” said Jim Corridor, senior insight manager at research firm Similarweb. “This is a long process and it will still take a year or so for airlines to fully schedule to meet this level of demand.”


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