Thousands of people have had holiday (and other) travel plans thrown in the air after a wave of thunderstorms raked the Northeast over the past few days.
All in all, there have been more than 20,000 delayed and 5,000 canceled flights across the country this week.
Huge crowds, staffing shortages, inability of some airline crews to reach their scheduling offices — even a Delta jet that made a belly landing in Charlotte, North Carolina — all contributed to the mess.
Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, which has had the most cancellations, blamed FAA staffing issues. And he’s not alone, an audit of the FAA found:
- 77% of critical facilities (like Air Traffic Control) are staffed below the 85% level the agency considers necessary.
- FAA facilities in New York and Miami are staffed at 54% and 66%, respectively, which “poses a risk to the continuity of air traffic operations.”
And, as we head into the Fourth of July weekend, more chaos is likely still to come.
The FAA expected today, Thursday, to be the heaviest travel day over the July 4 holiday weekend with more than 52,500 total flights.
And, as of Saturday, a new 5G service is expected to cause more delays and cancellations, as planes without updated equipment might experience interference from wireless transmissions, which bad weather could exacerbate.
Get instructions on how to enable our Flash News Briefing skill to your Amazon devices: