The federal government could force airlines to hire more workers to deal with the issue of delays and cancellations. (photo courtesy NicoElNino/iStock/Getty Images Plus)
Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who took airlines to task last week over the numerous delays and cancellations going on – and then found himself having to drive from Washington to New York when his own flight was canceled – is floating an interesting and potentially controversial idea to help ease the problem.
Buttigieg suggested that the federal government could step in and use its power to compel U.S. airlines to hire more workers to deal with staff shortages plaguing the industry.
According to an interview with the Associated Press, Buttigieg said the DOT has the power and authority to force airlines deemed to have insufficient staffing to hire more workers.
“That is happening to a lot of people, and that is exactly why we are paying close attention here to what can be done and how to make sure that the airlines are delivering,” Buttigieg said.
Airlines have been slammed by the perfect storm of an unexpected amount of pent-up demand among air travelers looking to go on vacation again after two years of the pandemic, coupled with pilot and staffing shortages that have thinned their employment ranks.
That has resulted in thousands of delayed and canceled flights.
But Buttigieg tempered his suggestion by saying he would wait to see what happens with next weekend’s long Fourth of July holiday, a peak travel period especially this year with July 4 falling on a Monday.