Airlines canceled thousands of flights this week, blaming staffing shortages, as Americans return to traveling in droves this summer. But airlines and the federal government are at odds over which staffing shortages are the fundamental cause.
But the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), a pilot’s union representing 64,000 pilots at 39 airlines, said pilot shortages are not the problem, pointing out that 8,000 newly certified pilots have signed on in the past year. The ALPA called the pilot shortage “a problem that doesn’t exist.”
But airlines are now hiring aggressively to meet a dramatic uptick in demand. Southwest Airlines told The Epoch Times, “We’ve hired more than 14,500 employees in the past 12 months, and we’re on track to hire more than 10,000 Southwest employees in 2022.” The airline plans to restore 85 percent of its pre-pandemic flight schedule by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, airline passengers should prepare for a difficult, frustrating experience this summer.