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Summer travel is expected to be “challenging” due to labor shortages and flight cancellations, warned Captain Casey Murray, president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association.
Murray, a pilot, told ‘Fox & Friends Weekend’ on Sunday that the entire airline industry is facing similar challenges as US airlines canceled scores of flights for several days. as they attempted to recover from the storms while trying to accommodate growing crowds of summer vacationers.
By late Sunday morning, more than 2,000 flights had been canceled with nearly 8,300 delays, according to tracking service FlightAware, which noted there were more than 700 canceled US flights and more than 1,000 delays.
In previous days, a similar situation tormented travelers. On Friday, for example, airports with the most cancellations included Charlotte, North Carolina, which is a major hub for American Airlines, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty in the New York area, and Reagan Washington National in the New York area. outside of Washington, DC.
“It’s going to be a tough summer,” Murray said. “It’s going to be a tough summer industry-wide and at Southwest we’re doing everything we can to make sure we get everyone where they want to be.”
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When asked what was causing all the delays and cancellations, Murray spoke about issues specific to Southwest Airlines, noting that “we’re having issues connecting pilots to planes.”
He said the airline was hiring “and that’s going to alleviate the problem to some extent, but a lot of it is internal inefficiencies and internal processes.” He argued that some pilots experience “fatigue”, among other issues.
Murray added that the problem relating to how pilots are used is not new and “has been going on for years”, before noting that “we are seeing labor shortages in the macro environment”, not just in the airlines.
A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg held a virtual meeting with airline CEOs on Thursday to review the steps airlines are taking to operate smoothly over the July 4 holiday weekend and the rest of the world. ‘summer. The group also discussed ways to improve accommodation for stranded passengers when flights are cancelled.
When asked if he thought the Buttigieg reunion would help solve the problem, Murray said he thought “it’s part” of the solution.
“For us, we also have a 2.5-year contract after the acceptable date. This causes problems in recruiting pilots,” he continued. “It’s kind of a systemic problem with us, and it spills over to the whole industry as well.”
Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, which usually marks the start of the summer travel season, airlines battled bad weather and shortages of workers, especially pilots, leading to widespread cancellations.
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On Friday, Delta Air Lines, which canceled the most flights on the Memorial Day stretch, announced that the airline had reduced cancellations by hiring more pilots and flight attendants.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.