September 30, 2022
FAA Says Delta Air Lines Can Reduce Flight Schedule

FAA Says Delta Air Lines Can Reduce Flight Schedule

DALLAS – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is giving Delta Air Lines (DL) permission to temporarily cut some flights at New York’s LaGuardia (LGA) and John F. Kennedy (JFK) airports and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). But the permission comes with a catch.

Reuters reports that DL asked the FAA to waive the slot requirements at these three congested airports. The airline cited reasons including significant crew sick time, construction, weather delays, and traffic control delays.

The FAA approved DL’s request saying that, it “will support Delta’s steps to make schedule adjustments and staff assignments to increase the reliability of its operations and minimize disruptions to travelers.”

Delta said that the approval “will allow us to continue improving shared challenges and service reliability with minimal impact to customers.”

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Aircraft A321-271NX (N501DA) is seen departing Logan’s runway 9 this morning – a cloudy day. Photo: Darryl Sarno/Airways

The Catch

However, in return, the FAA requests that Delta “offer customers a refund or rebook them on Delta or another carrier as needed for canceled flights at the three airports.”

The measure affects flights from June 1 to September 5. Airlines can lose their slots at certain congested airports if they do not use them 80% of the time. This permission from the FAA allows DL to reduce its flight schedule without losing slots.

Reuters reported statistics released by the FAA that show that in May, Delta pilots missed 19,985 days due to sickness. This is up 45% from 13,786 days in May 2019. Pilot sick days in June rose 50% from June 2019. DL also reported in May its flight attendants missed 43,908 days due to sickness, up 23%.

“Delta stated that due to the unforeseen spike, its workforce and flight operations are under extraordinary strain, leaving little margin for operational challenges caused by construction, ATC delays, and weather,” the FAA said. The agency noted that its preference was for DL to reduce its flight schedule to minimize cancellations and passenger disruptions.

Featured image: Salt Lake City (SLC) airport Delta Air Lines ramp overview/ Photo: Michael Rodeback/Airways

John Huston is a marketer, writer, and videographer who's always loved planes, clocked 10 whole hours in a Cessna and can spend hours wandering around ATL. Based in Atlanta, GA, United States.

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