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Donald Wood

by Donald Wood
Last updated: 8:55 AM ET, Wed June 28, 2023

The CEO of United Airlines is blaming the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) for a series of travel disruptions this past weekend.

According to Reuters.com,
United CEO Scott Kirby told the airline’s employees that the FAA’s issues with “staffing
and inexperience” resulted in thousands of delays and cancellations at Newark
Liberty International Airport, one of the carrier’s busiest hubs.

As a result of the storms that continued through the weekend
into the early work week, airlines were forced to cancel more than 5,400 domestic
flights since Saturday. In a letter to employees, Kirby blamed the issues on
the FAA.

“As you know, the weather we saw in EWR is something that
the FAA has historically been able to manage without a severe impact on our
operation and customers,” Kirby said. “This past Saturday, however, was
different.”

“The FAA reduced the arrival rates by 40 percent and the
departure rates by 75 percent,” Kirby continued. “That is almost certainly a
reflection of understaffing/lower experience at the FAA. It led to massive
delays, cancellations, diversions, as well as crews and aircraft out of
position.”

FAA officials admitted that it was forced to “pause” departures
to the Washington D.C. area due to a computer failure at an air traffic control
facility in the region. The issues caused delays and cancellations in the
northeast that were exacerbated by the bad weather that started on Sunday.

In response, an FAA spokesperson said the government agency
would be willing to “collaborate with anyone seriously willing to join us to
solve a problem.”

Last year, Kirby and other airline executives said the FAA
remains part of the problem regarding delays and cancellations. The CEO also
said during a Global Aerospace Summit that the government agency needs more air
traffic controllers.


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