Over 6,000 flights delayed, canceled in US due to storms

A series of storms hit the United States only one day after airline CEOs met with US transportation regulators to discuss ways to reduce flight disruptions. Thousands of flights were canceled or delayed as a result of the storms.

According to the flight tracking website FlightAware, more than 6,000 flights were delayed or canceled as of 4:25 p.m. ET on Friday. FlightAware reported more than 1,700 cancellations and 8,800 delays in the United States on Thursday.

Storms raged from Mississippi to Virginia, disrupting flights at major airports including as Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington, D.C., and New York. At the same time, airline staffing issues as carriers recover from the Covid-19 outbreak have made responding to inclement weather more difficult, leaving airlines with fewer reserve workers.

On Thursday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg had a conference call with airline CEOs, reminding them of the need of doing everything possible to minimize the effect of delays, according to a government individual involved with the conversation who did not want to be identified.

The Federal Aviation Administration is attempting to boost the number of air-traffic controllers at sites that have had the most traffic increases, such as its Jacksonville, Florida control center. According to the FAA, most airports in Florida are reporting an increase in flights compared to pre-pandemic levels.

In a letter to US senators dated June 10, trade organization Airlines for America noted, “Like practically every business throughout the economy, airlines are reacting to workforce shortages, supply chain dynamics, and other pandemic-related problems.”

According to the Transportation Security Administration, overall passenger numbers are still roughly 12% lower than in 2019.

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