Air travel hits another pandemic high, flight delays grow

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Air question   hits different  pandemic high, formation  delays grow Travelers are lining up astatine O'Hare airdrome successful Chicago, Friday, July 2, 2021. The U.S. acceptable different pandemic-era grounds for question connected Sunday, Aug. 1, with much than 2.2 cardinal radical going done airdrome checkpoints. That's the biggest fig successful 17 months, though question is inactive not rather backmost to pre-pandemic levels. Credit: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Air question successful the U.S. is hitting caller pandemic-era highs, and airlines are scrambling to support up with the summer-vacation crowds.

Despite rising numbers of coronavirus infections fueled by the delta variant, the U.S. acceptable different caller precocious people for aerial question Sunday, with much than 2.2 cardinal radical going done airdrome checkpoints, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

That is astir 11,000 much radical screened than July 18, and the highest fig since Feb. 28, 2020, earlier the U.S. felt the afloat brunt of the pandemic. However, aerial question was inactive down 17% Sunday from the aforesaid Sunday successful 2019.

The resurgence of leisure travel, coupled with immoderate atrocious weather, has led to delays and formation cancellations astatine airlines struggling to ramp up aft being crushed by the pandemic. At times, airlines person been caught short-staffed adjacent though they received $54 cardinal successful payer wealth to support employees connected the payroll.

On Monday, Florida-based discount bearer Spirit Airlines—citing upwind and "operational challenges"—canceled astir one-third of its flights. The hose is "working astir the timepiece to get backmost connected track," spokesperson Field Sutton said.

About 7,400 flights arrived astatine slightest 15 minutes down docket connected Sunday—the government's explanation of late—and much than 900 were canceled, according to tracking work FlightAware,

Nearly fractional the cancellations were astatine Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which was deed with day and evening thunderstorms. The airdrome is American Airlines' largest hub.

There person been astatine slightest 5,000 delayed flights connected astir days since aboriginal July, according to FlightAware figures. American, Southwest and Spirit are among airlines with the biggest problems.

At slightest 40% of Southwest and Spirit flights were delayed and 19% of Spirit flights were canceled Sunday. On Monday, Spirit canceled 32% of its flights by midday, which created agelong lines astatine summons counters astatine Orlando International Airport successful Florida.

A cardinal legislator is quizzing respective airlines to explicate the precocious numbers of formation delays and cancellations. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., seat of the Senate Commerce Committee, said airlines did a mediocre occupation of managing their workforces and mightiness person failed to unrecorded up to the intent of the payer funding.

The question betterment faces a renewed public-health threat, arsenic the fig of caller cases of COVID-19 continues to rise. The seven-day rolling mean of caller U.S. infections is astir 80,000 a day, up astir 150% from 2 weeks ago, though the summation successful deaths is acold smaller.

Airline officials accidental they haven't seen bookings endure due to the fact that of the delta variant, though immoderate person said it could hold the instrumentality of concern travel, which airlines were hoping would summation velocity this fall.

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