Fourth of July travel: Airlines prepare for record passenger traffic as weather threatens schedules

High-traffic airspace like the one over the New York City region could see “excessive delays and cancellations” in the coming days if the area is impacted by another round of bad weather, according to an industry expert. 

Kathleen Bangs, a former airline pilot, noted that with a chance of rain and thunderstorms near New York City airports – LaGuardia, Newark and John F. Kennedy – over the weekend and into Monday, flight schedules could be affected.

“The biggest issue this year will be weather because as we’ve already seen this week in the New York area, with air traffic control short-staffed, any high-traffic airspace impacted by weather could see excessive delays and cancellations,” Bangs, currently a FlightAware spokesperson, said. 

It comes at a time when officials are projecting record travel volumes for the holiday at airports around the nation. 

AMERICAN AIRLINES PASSENGER GETS PLANE TO HIMSELF AFTER 18-HOUR DELAY: ‘IT WAS AN INSANE EXPERIENCE’

Last year, carriers were able to manage a low cancellation rate, about 2%, during the holiday which was significantly under the 2022 average. 

However, last weekend delays and cancellations started to pile up after thunderstorms rolled in across the East Coast and Midwest. 

People waiting for their flight reschedule inside of the Newark International Airport

A display with flight information is seen inside the Newark International Airport on June 27, 2023 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Kena Betancur/Getty Images / Getty Images)

On Sunday alone, there were nearly 10,000 delays in, out of and across the U.S., according to flight tracking website FlightAware. There were more than 1,400 cancellations, according to the data. The disruptions persisted into the week.  

NEARLY 1,600 FLIGHT DISRUPTIONS ALREADY TRACKED, WITH UNITED AIRLINES MOST IMPACTED

Longtime American Airlines pilot and Pilots Association Communications Chair Dennis Tajer told FOX Business that the weather tested what he calls an “unprepared aviation system.” 

“Everyone understands that for safety, flights get canceled or delayed,” Tajer said. 

But, “we’ve watched airlines blame the weather and the FAA when the skies are blue days after a meltdown, that’s just ridiculous,” he added. “Passengers deserve an infrastructure and support for when things go poorly not just on blue sky days.” 

Both crews and passengers are put in a bad spot when this occurs. 

People waiting for their flight reschedule inside of the Newark International Airport

People queue for their flight reschedule inside of the Newark International Airport on June 27, 2023, in Newark, New Jersey.  (Kena Betancur/Getty Images / Getty Images)

“With flights so heavily booked there isn’t much room to rebook passengers, so it’s a real corner that airlines have placed our passengers and crews in,” he said. 

However, United Airlines told FOX Business that it expects its operations to improve in the days ahead and that it “will be on track” to restore operations for the holiday weekend.

UNITED CEO SCOTT KIRBY SLAMS FAA FOR FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS, DELAYS

Off-duty flight attendants have also been calling in to staff open trips, the carrier added. 

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
UAL UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS INC. 54.87 +1.15 +2.14%
DAL DELTA AIR LINES INC. 47.54 +1.22 +2.63%

“It’s all-hands-on-deck as our pilots get aircraft moving, contact center teams work overtime to take care of our customers, and our airport customer service staff works tirelessly to deliver bags and board flights,” United said. 

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Delta told FOX Business that its teams “are hard at work for our customers, especially while managing through the busy summer travel season.”

The carrier also said it’s working with its partners at the “FAA to meet our shared top priority of safety, while running the most efficient operation possible for our customers,” particularly “when we are faced with challenges presented by severe weather in major metropolitan areas.”

Article source: https://airlines.einnews.com/article/642464724/S4T6MYx1uT6y7_iY?ref=rss&ecode=vaZAu9rk30b8KC5H

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