Air travel has been changing a lot lately.
Mask requirements changed, flight routes have been taken away and added in some areas, new airlines have been introduced, and some airlines are even trying to merge. There have been issues with canceled flights recently, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon.
A pilot shortage is causing many major airlines to cancel flights, according to Spectrum News 13. For example, over the last seven days, Tampa International Airport had 55 canceled flights, which is slightly higher than average, according to a spokesperson from the airport.
Southwest, Delta, and American Airlines are cutting some flights due to staffing issues. Southwest has canceled the most, cutting nearly 20,000 flights, according to according to a report from The Dallas Morning News says NBC News. They also say U.S. airlines are trying to hire at least 12,00 pilots combined this year.
“The pilot shortage for the industry is real, and most airlines are simply not going to be able to realize their capacity plans because there simply aren’t enough pilots, at least not for the next five-plus years,” United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said on a quarterly earnings call in April, according to NBC News.
Delta also just said it was canceling 100 daily flights from July 1st through August 7th in the United States and Latin America.
Smaller airlines and routes appear to be suffering the most from the shortage. For example, SkyWest Airlines said it had lost 5% of its pilots to larger carriers, according to NBC News. “We have a very serious problem. Delta, United, American — they’re parking regional jets and picking the most profitable routes. Everyone else is getting smaller or no service,” said Kit Darby, the president of KitDarby.com Aviation Consulting.
Commercial airline pilot Jim Shillings says the cancelations usually start with weather delays but then turn into bigger issues as there are not enough pilots in rotation, according to Spectrum News 13. He also said that he thinks the long training process, amount of pilots retiring during the pandemic, and expensive startup costs are contributing to the shortage.
The pilot union for American Airlines says that some airlines were encouraging pilots to retire early during the pandemic so that they could cut costs when less people were traveling by air, according to Spectrum News 13.
We’ll keep you updated on move air travel news and info, so stay tuned to DFB for more.
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