Canceled flights rise in US as summer travel heats up

U.S. airlines canceled scores of flights for a second straight day on Friday as they tried to recover from the storms while accommodating growing crowds of summer vacationers.

By early afternoon in the eastern United States, airlines canceled more than 1,100 flights after canceling more than 1,700 on Thursday, according to tracking service FlightAware.

Airports with the most cancellations included those in Charlotte, North Carolina, a major hub for American Airlines, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty in the New York area, and Reagan Washington National outside of Washington, D.C.

On Thursday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg held a virtual meeting with airline CEOs to review the steps airlines are taking to operate smoothly during the July 4 holiday and the rest of the summer, and to improve accommodation for stranded passengers when flights are cancelled. .

Over the Memorial Day holiday weekend that usually kicks off the summer travel season, airlines have had to battle bad weather and shortages of workers, especially pilots, leading to widespread cancellations.

Delta Air Lines, which has canceled the most flights on the Memorial Day stretch, said Friday it has reduced cancellations by hiring more pilots and flight attendants and scheduling crews to adapt more quickly to disruptions such as than thunderstorms.

So far in June, more than 2.2 million travelers a day on average have passed through security checkpoints at US airports. That’s up 22% from a year ago, but still down 13% from the same period before the pandemic.

The industry worries about ticket sales after Labor Day, when airlines become more reliant on business and international travel, both of which remain depressed.

However, the outlook for US leisure travel remains strong despite higher fares to cover rising fuel costs.

On Friday, Allegiant Air, a discount carrier that caters to vacationers, said while it’s early days, post-summer travel bookings are higher than this time in 2019.

Allegiant’s update highlighted a wildcard that airlines are still dealing with: COVID-19.

The Las Vegas-based airline said when coronavirus cases began to rise in mid-May, it canceled more flights due to missing crew members. Allegiant said the cancellations will result in second-quarter revenue at the bottom of its previous guidance, but still 28% higher than the same quarter in 2019.

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Post expires at 5:04am on Tuesday June 28th, 2022