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Experts say it is unlikely that the travel turmoil in the United States will improve as July 4 approaches.US news

As the travel turmoil on July 4 approaches, experts warn that a combination of factors such as a shortage of pilots, a climate crisis, and even the rise of drones is unlikely to improve the situation immediately. ..

Over 3,000 flights were canceled and over 19,000 flights were delayed on Memorial Day and June holiday weekends. According to the company, about 1,800 flights have been canceled so far this week. hill..

Aviation industry expert Robert Mann says travelers can anticipate even more difficulties this weekend.

“It’s a complicated situation, and no one has a clean hand, except for customers who bought tickets because they thought they were going on vacation or flying for business,” Man said.

The airline received $ 54 billion in relief funding between a pandemic and politicians, including the Secretary of Transportation, Pete ButigegAnd Senator Bernie Sanders I’m wondering why they weren’t so prepared for the post-pandemic travel boom. Sanders is asking for a fine.

Despite promises to keep staff in return for relief, airlines have fired thousands of workers, and a shortage of pilots is often explained as the main reason for recent problems.

There are also structural and regulatory reasons for the shortage. Pilots have not been trained and certified in their former numbers, many are approaching retirement age, have already been raised from 60 to 65, and are now likely to be raised further. Another problem is that the military is not producing the former number of pilots due to increased drone use and other strategic decisions.

Changes in regulations also play a role.rear Corgan Airlines Flight 3407 The crash in Buffalo in 2009 killed 49 people and Congress increased the flight time required for pilot certification from 250 hours to 1,500 hours. Criticism from some airline executives..

“The bottom line is that we don’t produce as many pilots as we did in the 70’s and 80’s when many pilots came out of post-Vietnam services,” Mann said. “And how do you reach 1,500 hours? Everyone is looking for a shortcut.”

The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) monthly flight time limits can also lead to shortages. The holiday is the end of June. This means that many pilots may have already maximized their weekly or monthly quotas. The airline is looking for volunteer pilots and in some cases offers triple payments.

In addition to this, airlines that retired old planes, believing that they could dismiss pilots and staff during pandemics and rehire new planes at less cost if needed, set new training requirements for new planes. Brought.

However, training resources have also been expanded. “So we could get rid of the entire fleet and now we need to retrain the entire crew,” Mann said. “Retire one senior pilot and create six or seven training events.”

Further exacerbating the shortage of pilots is the shortage of airport staff, including ground personnel, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) staff, and Starbucks employees. All employees in the safe area of ​​the airport, including TSA, Customs, and Border Protection personnel, are required to qualify. This process can take up to 2 months.

Delta pilots picketed Thursday to demand better working conditions in Atlanta. Many said they were working overtime despite the cancellation of flights across the country. “As pilots, we’re not just exhausted. They’re trying to get us to the maximum,” said Dennis Targer of the Allied Pilot Association.

The Airline Pilot Association (Alpa) has recently announced Open letter To thousands of Delta passengers caught in a wave of delays and cancellations. Captain Jason Ambrosi, Chairman of Delta Alpa, said:

American Airlines pilots recently displayed a sign near the New York Stock Exchange that looks like this: So do we. “Approximately 1,300 uniformed Southwest Airlines pilots raised a sign at Dallas Love Field Airport to protest poor wages and poor working conditions.

Casey Murray, chairman of the Southwest Airlines Pilot Association (Swapa) and representing more than 9,000 pilots, said last year’s schedule mismanagement caused pilots to lose 20,000 days off and their jobs to be “fugitives.” I am saying.

But there are other problems.

Booking a new flight can be a hassle, even after the flight has been cancelled. Mobile apps are struggling to handle changes, call centers are overwhelmed on confused days, with hours of hold times.

American Airlines’ hold time in mid-June was the longest in the past few weeks, “due to widespread weather and ATC. [air-traffic control] problem. “

And those weather events tell another-worries-story. The climate crisis is increasing the intensity and frequency of stormy weather. Higher temperatures and drier conditions change the maximum payload and runway length required for takeoff.

“It’s hard to say that it’s ineffective because we see longer-lasting, unpredictable, high-energy weather events in unpredictable locations,” says Mann.

Atlanta, America’s busiest airport, was closed for a full day last winter due to a lack of de-icing equipment that had never been needed before.Extreme temperatures are already Cause flight cancellation In the United States. “They have to wait for the sun to set, the temperature drops, and they can take off,” Mann said.

Even at airports where departure flights typically do not exceed 1,500 miles, such as LaGuardia in New York, the combination of runway length, payload and temperature allows airlines to unload passengers and baggage to reduce takeoff weight. ..

“As temperatures rise, certain flights will have to short-load fuel, which will increase the chances of getting payload restrictions or stopping prematurely,” Mann added.

So, if you’ve been sitting in an airport lounge for hours this weekend, or if you’re in a mess late in the summer, think about the associated complications. “There are so many problems combined to create this, it’s only in the United States,” Mann said. “In Europe It ’s worse. “

Experts say it is unlikely that the travel turmoil in the United States will improve as July 4 approaches.US news

Source link Experts say it is unlikely that the travel turmoil in the United States will improve as July 4 approaches.US news

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