Pete Buttigieg Faces Criticism Over Flight Delays – Severe shortages of traffic controllers at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are contributing to the travel crunches that the nation has experienced over the past year. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg finds himself in the hot seat once again due to delays over the 4th of July travel weekend.
“Now the good news is, on Friday, we saw according to TSA, a record number of airline passengers, probably the most ever in America, and we saw those cancellation rates stay low,” Buttigieg said during an appearance on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.
The Transportation Department’s Inspector General’s office found that the FAA has not properly addressed its staffing issues.
“FAA has made limited efforts to ensure adequate controller staffing at critical air traffic control facilities. The Agency also has yet to implement a standardized scheduling tool to optimize controller scheduling practices at these facilities, and FAA officials disagree on how to account for trainees when determining staffing numbers,” the Inspector General’s report said. “As a result, FAA continues to face staffing challenges and lacks a plan to address them, which in turn poses a risk to the continuity of air traffic operations.”
As head of the Transportation Department, it ultimately falls on Buttigieg’s shoulders to guide effective policies to get the job done.
Pete Buttigieg Blames Weather for Delays
Buttigieg held a press conference in May at which he blamed the weather for the problems with airline on-time arrivals.
“The goal is to always have a smooth traveling experience, and here at DoT we are doing steps we can take that we can take. In New York, that means allowing airlines to use larger planes with more seats at lower frequency, which means they can move more passengers with less congestion, and it’s showing signs of working,” Buttigieg said.
He continued: “We know that passengers continue to face issues, and I want passengers to know that when they do we have their back.”
Twitter Not Happy With Buttigieg
Despite Buttigieg’s public-relations offensive, not everyone is happy with his job performance.
“He’s more worried about defending himself and his beliefs than doing his job. Almost 3000 flights were delayed or cancelled this weekend. This is after he said he would fix the airline industry,” a Twitter user named Dustin Brown wrote.
He was not alone.
“Where’s Pete Buttigieg in all this airline mess, delays, cancellations, etc.???” another tweeter said.
Fox News commentator Raymond Arroyo called the situation in the air a “disaster,” noting he was stranded at Miami’s airport for four hours.
“People have been going through so much worse over the past few days,” Arroyo said. “I have been talking to the pilots and other people in the airline industry and they keep talking about the FAA here.
Arroyo continued: “You have the CEO of Jetblue. The CEO of United saying that the FAA has failed to staff enough air traffic controllers.”
Pete Buttigieg says help is on the way.
“We’re hiring 1500 new air traffic controllers this year. Our plan is to hire another 1800 traffic controllers next year. We’re also working on staffing models that can better address the needs on the ground, and cooperating where possible and where appropriate with airlines on things that can make better use of the same national airspace,” Buttigieg said on “Face the Nation”.
“Remember, we have the most complex national airspace in the world. But there are things we can do to manage it more efficiently. FAA is using new technology, for example, to open up routes that are more direct using GPS, which means less flight time, and ultimately can contribute to less congestion.”
John Rossomando was a senior analyst for Defense Policy and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting.