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Travelers across the country are currently reeling from recent flight cancellations. This begs the question: Why are so many flights getting canceled lately? More than 2,000 flights have been dropped in just the past few days as rising fuel costs, and an apparent pilot shortage, have some airlines cutting their departures.
On Thursday, American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) announced that it is ending service to a host of small cities. The company told CBS:
In response to the regional pilot shortage affecting the airline industry, American Airlines has made the difficult decision to end service in Dubuque, Iowa, Islip and Ithaca, New York, and Toledo, Ohio.
The changes are set to take effect in early September. The airline has reportedly put 100 regional planes on standby due to a lack of pilots.
Not alone, however, United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) is cutting 12% of its New Jersey schedule next month. This includes canceling roughly 50 daily flights from Newark Liberty International Airport. Interestingly, United’s cancellations aren’t a product of pilot shortages. United cited capacity constraints, construction, and air traffic control as being behind the cancellations.
Why Are So Many Flights Being Cancelled?
Airlines have struggles with flight cancellations and delays every year, although it seems the issue is hitting a fever pitch. Thunderstorms, staffing shortages, and surging summer travel demands have put undue strain on airlines.
Father’s Day weekend, which coincided with Juneteenth, saw a wave of flight cancellations stemming from the jump in travelers. More than 5,000 flights were canceled over the holiday weekend, joined by more than 27,000 delays. In response, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg met with airline chief executives to encourage them to take precautionary steps to ensure the rest of the summer is more reliable.
Nick Calio, CEO of Airlines for America, commented on the meeting:
We appreciated the opportunity to meet with Department of Transportation Secretary Buttigieg to discuss our shared commitment to prioritizing the safety and security of all travelers as they reunite with friends, family and colleagues this summer.
Despite the trouble in the skies, Wall Street has been kind to airlines today. American and United stocks are each up over 6% on a surprisingly pleasant day in the market.
On the date of publication, Shrey Dua did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.