With FAA outage explained, more flight disruptions could be ahead
We now have a definitive answer about what caused last week’s major flight disruption.
But hold up – there are some troubling signs air travel could get worse in 2023
The Federal Aviation Administration temporarily suspended all domestic flight departures last week as it fixed issues with its alert system.
Yesterday — the F-A-A released a statement saying it was caused by contractors unintentionally deleting files used for the system.
Quote — “The FAA made the necessary repairs to the system and has taken steps to make the system more resilient. The agency is acting quickly to adopt any other lessons learned in our efforts to ensure the continuing robustness of the nation’s air traffic control system.”
The F-A-A added there is no evidence of a cyber attack or anything else malicious behind the outage.
While this may sound like good news — airline industry leaders are warning there may be more disruptions in the future.
“There are structural, structural challenges, that the system is really at peak capacity.”
That was United Airlines C-E-O Scott Kirby earlier this week — warning that airlines won’t be able to handle all the flights they plan to operate this year.
He cited a shortage of pilots and other workers — outdated technology — and strains on the F-A-A — referencing last week’s outage — as well as the thousands of weather-related cancellations in recent weeks.
Kirby called for an increase in resources to the aviation industry.
“This isn’t a partisan issue. This isn’t Democrat, this isn’t Republican. This is infrastructure, this is infrastructure for the country, and it’s one of the biggest paybacks we could have. Because if we do this, reducing delays, cancellations, all the downline implications that has for the economy, this is one of the easiest paybacks out there.”
Southwest Airlines was especially affected by the winter storms.
Come spring — they may have an even larger headache on their hands.
The airline’s pilots union plans to hold a vote that could give the union the power to call a strike.
The airline and union have been have been in negotiations for a new contract for years.
During last month’s travel chaos — many pilots and flight attendants were stranded and had to wait on hold to reach schedulers or hotel services.
The union has sought federal mediation in their labor talks with Southwest.
That mediation is scheduled to resume next week.
If a deal isn’t reached — a strike vote would be held May 1st.