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Washington (AFP) – Americans on their way to the airport to join their families for the National Day of July 4 risked having a bad surprise on Saturday, the airlines having already canceled hundreds of flights due in particular to staffing problems.
By midday, 600 flights had already been canceled, while nearly 2,200 others were delayed, according to flightaware.com.
The situation was already difficult the day before, according to the specialized site, which listed Friday 587 canceled flights out of a total of 3,060 worldwide, and nearly 8,000 delays.
These setbacks for American passengers constitute a basic trend: the airlines of the United States, which employ 15% less staff compared to the pre-pandemic period, are having difficulty managing the massive return of passengers to their planes.
Companies in the sector say they are working to solve the problem, intensifying their recruitment campaigns for pilots and other categories of personnel and reducing the number of seats available for passengers.
Officials in the aviation sector mention other aggravating external factors, in particular climatic or due to Covid.
US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg reminded passengers on Twitter on Saturday that they are entitled to a refund in the event of cancellation.
Delta Airlines pilots also demonstrated on Thursday to demand wage increases in relation to the number of overtime hours worked.
“It’s very frankly irresponsible to overbook. At the end of the pandemic, we plan more flights than we have people to pilot them”, regretted one of their union representatives, Jason Ambrosi, on the CNN channel on Saturday.
The pilots, tired, do not want to block the passengers, he assured, “but it is a question of safety”.
© 2022 AFP