FAA allows airlines to cut flights amidst air traffic controller shortage

Don’t expect the delays and cancelations at our area airports to stop anytime soon.  A major part of the problem is the shortage of air traffic controllers. 

Now, the FAA is saying it will continue to allow airlines to cut back on their flights without any penalty through at least the end of October.  

"I was supposed to be on a 6 o'clock flight with Southwest. Now they pushed it to 7:23," a passenger complained.

FOX 5 NY's Linda Schmidt asked how many delays and cancelations have they dealt with this summer. A passenger told Schmidt probably every other flight, so about five times.

The pandemic created staff shortages in the airline industry and the FAA is having difficulty recruiting new talent. 

"They still are behind the eight-ball on this and I don’t see it getting better for the next couple of years," said Clint Henderson, the managing editor of the travel site The Points Guy..

Kyle Bailey, a pilot and a former FAA safety team representative, says the FAA’s current policy not to penalize airlines for limiting flights in the New York area is not the solution to the problem.  

He says passengers will suffer for it. "The fares are going to increase as a result of this happening," Bailey added.


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The National Air Traffic Controllers Association has consistently blasted the FAA saying:

"FAA’s flawed staffing model and inconsistent hiring has resulted in new hires not keeping pace with attrition over the past decade. The status quo is no longer sustainable." But the FAA is firing back saying, "This year, we will hire 1,500 and next year we will hire 1,800." 

Critics say it is not fast enough. 

"It takes up to two years to train people and what’s happened is a lot of the older staff members, the well-trained people have retired," Henderson added.