Friday, August 6, 2021

BROKEN SPIRIT: Airline Cancels 60% Of Its Flights Wednesday

Spirit canceled most flights Wednesday amid days-long disruption for strained air carriers

WASHINGTON - Spirit Airlines canceled 60% of its flights Wednesday and apologized to customers for severe disruptions in recent days, the latest in ongoing issues for air travelers seeking normalcy as airlines struggle to bounce back from pandemic lows. The union representing Spirit's flight attendants said the Florida-based company was addressing the meltdown by using procedures developed to recover from hurricanes.Aviation industry experts said the busy summer travel season, combined with lingering impacts from the pandemic, has complicated airline scheduling and added to logistical problems. Spirit's woes this week are the latest for an industry strained by rising demand on the heels of a pandemic-induced slump in travel. Experts say some carriers are facing difficulties in finding pilots, flight attendants and ground crew to service flights as they recover from historic declines in air travel, leaving them vulnerable when more routine problems occur. Jon Jager, an analyst at aviation data firm Cirium and a former schedule planner for a major U.S. carrier, said airlines are used to planning for events such as cyclical weather patterns. But staffing constraints - as travel demand outpaces airline employees returning after the worst of the pandemic - are creating difficulties in planning as the end of summer approaches. "This is the last best chance for airlines to make revenue - and the demand is there," Jager said. "People are wanting to travel. This causes pressure on the airline to maximize their schedule with fewer employees available to work due to pandemic staffing levels." Source

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