Thousands of flights were delayed or canceled over the Father’s Day and Juneteenth weekend, USA Today reports. This trend is expected to continue through the summer, if not longer.

A strained industry: On Saturday alone, over 6,300 flights within, into or leaving the United States were delayed, and 859 were canceled, according to NBC.

  • This comes as summer travel is expected to boom back to pre-pandemic levels or higher. However, the industry is not at pre-pandemic preparedness.

The news: Airlines all over the country have already decreased their services as the summer travel season approaches its peak.

  • Southwest Airlines has cut about 20,000 flights between June and Labor Day, and is bolstering hiring efforts in an attempt to better handle the chaos, NBC reported.
  • Starting July 1, United Airlines announced that it will cut 50 daily flights from Newark, New Jersey, per CNBC.
  • Previously, the Deseret News reported that American Airlines will cut flights from three cities: Ithaca and Islip, New York, and Toledo, Ohio.
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What is causing these disruptions? According to the Deseret News, many pilots were laid off or encouraged to retire as the pandemic hit its peak, leading to a national pilot shortage.

  • The air travel industry is still seeing other setbacks from the pandemic, recovering from layoffs and other problems and supply chain delays that arose during 2020, Forbes states.
  • On Tuesday, 1,300 pilots from Southwest Airlines participated in a protest in Dallas, Texas, according to The Associated Press. Pilots stood in the hot sun to demand better pay and working conditions amid the strenuous working conditions.
  • Southwest is not the only airline whose pilots are feeling stressed. Pilots from Delta, Alaska and other airlines around the country have held strikes to demand better working conditions.
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Looking ahead: Kit Darby, founder of Kit Darby Aviation Consulting, told CBS News that the July 4 weekend is “not looking good” for travel.

  • “Airline operations are notoriously fragile and vulnerable to disruptions when there is any kind of additional strain on their services. Now, with airline personnel stretched thin, even a spot of bad weather can lead to cascading delays and cancellations,” CBS reported.
  • Hayley Berg, the lead economist for Hopper, also predicts a bumpy July 4 weekend for air travel. Demand is high, so Berg says to expect delays and cancellations, per Yahoo.
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