December 1, 2023

Summer time journey woes doubtless aren’t going away any time quickly. 

Trade consultants say the remainder of the season can be tough for vacationers partly due to air site visitors controller staffing points, which they are saying cannot be solved in a single day, in addition to overscheduling by airways.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated it has been working to repair staffing points in New York Metropolis and different elements of the nation, and even requested carriers to chop down on their summer season schedules earlier this 12 months so as to add extra slack into the system.

“Issues are simply going to be loopy,” journey knowledgeable Lee Abbamonte, who says he has been to each nation on the planet, instructed FOX Enterprise. Abbamonte projected that delays and cancellations will proceed all through the summer season journey season. He additionally cautioned that issues may persist even past the summer season.


Abbamonte stated one purpose is that “it has taken them [the FAA] without end to fill the void on air site visitors controllers.”

Clint Henderson, managing editor of journey web site The Factors Man, additionally believes the air site visitors controller scarcity is a “enormous subject” that will not be solved this 12 months.

Vacationers make their means via Los Angeles Worldwide Airport on Thursday, June 29, 2023. (Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Lengthy Seashore Press-Telegram through / Getty Photos)

“So far as the precise journey bother that we’re seeing… that’s going to be an ongoing development,” Henderson instructed FOX Enterprise. 

Henderson stated there are nonetheless not sufficient air site visitors controllers, noting shortages particularly at main hubs within the Northeast – like Newark, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports – and even into Canada. 

“When issues begin to go fallacious, there’s not sufficient employees to assist the airways type it out,” he added. 


Henderson, nonetheless, gave the FAA credit score, saying it’s working to rent and prepare extra air site visitors controllers. The difficulty, he stated, is that it’s a gradual course of “that is not going to be solved in a single day.” On prime of that, the FAA misplaced numerous skilled staff over the course of the pandemic, he added. 

“Particularly as issues begin to go fallacious, and the system failure begins to cascade… when you do not have numerous expertise dealing with conditions like that, you may rapidly get overwhelmed,” Henderson added. 

Newark airport

Passengers sleep at Newark Liberty Worldwide Airport in New Jersey on June 27, 2023, as weather-related disruptions proceed. ( @glennschuck/@1010WINS )

Throughout an interview with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg pushed again on airline executives putting the blame on the FAA, saying that “lower than 10% of the delay minutes within the system” are brought on by air site visitors management shortages.

He additionally famous that extreme climate was the important thing reason behind recurring clusters of flight issues.

Henderson additionally agreed it isn’t simply FAA staffing points. Airways additionally share numerous the duty as a result of they’re overscheduled, he stated. 

People waiting for their flight reschedule inside of the Newark International Airport

Vacationers wait at Newark Worldwide Airport on June 27, 2023, in New Jersey.  (Kena Betancur / Getty Photos)

“They’re scheduled as if there is not any such factor as a day thunderstorm… there’s not numerous slack within the system,” Henderson stated. 

Earlier this 12 months, airways responded to calls from the FAA to scale back their schedules within the Northeast by 10%. Nevertheless, Henderson argued that airways did not scale back them sufficient. He hopes that after the debacle final week – when hundreds of flights have been thrown off observe after thunderstorms rolled in throughout the East Coast and Midwest – that may change. 


“There is not any wiggle room. There is not any room for error proper now,” Henderson stated. “You really want that give within the system with a view to assist when issues begin to go sideways.” 

United CEO Scott Kirby warned in a latest observe to employees that it’s going to “should additional change/scale back our schedule to offer ourselves much more spare gates and buffer – particularly throughout thunderstorm season.”

The FAA instructed FOX Enterprise that it’s “nonetheless catching up on controller coaching in NYC and elsewhere.” Nevertheless, “when it comes to having the ability to work the site visitors that’s scheduled, we have now not had any points within the NYC space for the previous week.”

Nonetheless, Henderson initiatives the problems to persist “possibly even into 2024.” 

What ought to vacationers do within the meantime?

For now, Abbamonte stated vacationers must be ready. To cut back the chance of going through a delay or cancellation, he prompt taking the earliest flight potential. If a flight is delayed or canceled, passengers have the most effective likelihood of nonetheless getting out that day, he stated. 

It is also a good suggestion to have journey insurance coverage, in response to Abbamonte. Moreover, it is higher to guide with the airline straight, both on-line or via its app, relatively than via a 3rd celebration like Expedia. If a problem happens, the airline will direct you to the third celebration you used, he stated.

FOX Enterprise’ Timothy Nerozzi contributed to this report.