According to U.S. Department of Transportation data, the Dallas Morning News has reported domestic airlines canceled more than 53,000 flights in the first half of 2022.
While this amounts to just 2.8 per cent of all flights, this relates to more than 6.3 million inconvenienced and displaced travelers, based on a conservative estimate of 120 passengers per aircraft.
The Morning News said that American Airlines canceled 3.8 per cent of its flights in the first half of 2022 and had the most cancelations. However, the 31,000 flights that American Airlines canceled in November are not included in that number.
After the pandemic, airlines have struggled to rebuild and restructure their workforce. Early in 2020, the majority of airlines decided to supplement the government loans and grants they were given to survive by laying off workers through early retirement or offering buyouts. However, the savings strategy backfired when there weren’t enough employees to handle the spike in travel demand early this year.
For comparison purposes, the publication pointed out that in the first half of the previous pre-pandemic year for the aviation sector in 2019, 2.1 per cent of all U.S. flights were canceled. However, even that figure was exaggerated because several airlines could not operate their Boeing 737 MAX aircraft fleet. Following two separate crashes, the MAX was out of service for more than a year.
“There’s no question that airlines’ reliability and on-time performance has been below anyone’s level of acceptability, and the airlines would probably be the first to admit it,” Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst and president of Atmosphere Research, told the newspaper. “These airlines know they have to get their acts together and, if they don’t, the government will step in to make sure they do.”
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