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When will flying get better? FAA, airline CEOs meet again to try and find a fix

June 30, 2022
3 min read
When will flying get better? FAA, airline CEOs meet again to try and find a fix
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Leaders from the airline industry and the Federal Aviation Administration met on Thursday as both sides continue to point fingers at each other for recent operational issues.

The virtual meeting took place just a day before millions of Americans are expected to take to the skies during what could be the busiest travel period since the COVID-19 pandemic began over two years ago. It also comes as the flight disruptions that have roiled passengers recently are expected to continue into the weekend. Delta Air Lines went so far as to issue an unusual waiver — with few restrictions — that covers its entire network.

At the meeting, the FAA reiterated Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg's main ask of airlines was that they run adequate schedules and hire enough staff, according to a source familiar with the meeting who was not authorized to discuss it publicly with the media.

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However, airlines have pushed back on Buttigieg's comments and instead have blamed the issue on air traffic control staffing. Delta CEO Ed Bastian on Wednesday told employees that ATC was the main problem.

"I think [our partner] that’s most stressed right now is air traffic control,” Bastian told employees, according to Skift Airline Weekly.

ATC staffing issues have persisted at a facility near Jacksonville, Florida, that was the subject of a meeting in May between airlines and the FAA, though other facilities have reported staffing issues in recent weeks. Following the May meeting, the FAA said that it was increasing the staffing for that facility, known as the Jacksonville Air Route Traffic Control Center, though training new controllers can take time.

The FAA is said that it is maximizing the use of controller overtime at its ATC facilities this weekend and shared operational data about routing aircraft around weather, the source said. Alternative routing for aircraft was also discussed.

The meeting was attended by airline CEOs and representatives from the three main airline industry groups: Airlines for America, the National Air Carrier Association and the Regional Airline Association. Acting Administrator Billy Nolen along with other senior agency officials represented the FAA.

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In a statement, Airlines for America, which represents the major airlines, said that it appreciated the collaborative environment and that it was taking steps to fix some of the issues addressed.

More: Delta issues travel waiver for July 4 weekend for all

"We appreciated the opportunity to meet with the FAA and industry stakeholders to discuss our shared commitment to minimizing disruptions and providing a safe, efficient journey for all travelers," the statement said. "U.S airlines always strive to provide a seamless travel experience and are making every effort – including trimming schedules – to help ensure smooth travel."

The statement added that it appreciated the FAA's efforts to address controller staffing.

"A4A member airlines are working tirelessly to hire across the industry – customer service representatives, pilots, flight attendants, gate agents, mechanics and others – and appreciate efforts by the FAA to also attract new employees and incentivize overtime to address staffing shortages," the statement said."

Featured image by The Washington Post via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

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4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
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  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
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Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
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  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees