As the COVID pandemic has ebbed, and people have begun to return to “normal life,” travel has been making a comeback — and just in time for the summer season.
The problem with that, though, is that airlines are faced with staffing shortages, leading to the cancellation of thousands of flights heading into the busy travel season.
Leading the trend thus far has been Southwest Airlines, which cut nearly 20,000 flights, according to a report from The Dallas Morning News.
Delta said it was canceling 100 daily flights from July 1 through August 7 in the U.S. and Latin America.
While staffing as a whole has been challenging, the shortage of pilots has caused the most damage. According to one flight consultancy, U.S. airlines are trying to hire at least 12,000 pilots combined this year.
Pilots unions like the Air Line Pilots Association dispute that there is a pilot shortage, citing data showing that nearly 8,000 new commercial pilots have received certificates in the last 12 months. They claim that the service cuts are instead being used as a pretext to boost profit margins by cutting training and safety requirements.
That said, there’s never just one reason for mass airline cancellations. You can blame a perfect storm of bad weather, air traffic control issues and pilot shortages. Anytime you run a business as complicated as an airline, things are bound to go wrong.
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