AN AMERICAN pilot has warned that a nationwide staff shortage is making flights unsafe for passengers.
Dennis Tajer, from the Texas-based pilots union Allied Pilots Association, has said there is currently an “inhumane” level of pressure on pilots, something he thinks is a concern for travellers in the US.
A pilot has warned that a shortage of pilots in America is making flights unsafe (stock image)Credit: Getty
Speaking on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Mr Tajer said passengers should be worried about their safety because of the effect that the shortage is having on pilots.
He said: “They need to be concerned because I’m on TV as a representative for our union saying, ‘There’s a problem here’.
“I don’t fly the airplane unless I’m fit to fly and the airplane’s ready to go. But the fact that you’re pushing us and pushing us… This is not a safety culture.”
The pilot shortage has contributed to thousands of flights being cancelled or delayed, with airlines struggling to meet demands.
As of 5pm Thursday, over 3,800 flights were delayed within, into, or out of the US, according to FlightAware.
An additional 776 flights were cancelled across the nation.
Over the Juneteenth holiday weekend, at least 14,000 domestic flights were canceled or delayed nationwide, with more than 900 flights grounded on Sunday alone.
Delta was among the airlines with the most cancellations, with at least 200 flights halted.
Mr Tajer has urged the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to get involved, saying the pilots cannot fulfil the schedules they are being given by their airlines.
He said: “When an airline is under financial duress, they [FAA] put them under special monitoring status.
“They ought to come in and look at them trying to fly more airplanes than they can actually fly, and build schedules to an inhumane level.
“We’re ultimately letting down our passengers and squandering our investors’ money.
“It’s got to stop.”
The pilot shortage has come because of job cuts and buyouts during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as thousands of retirements.
As well as that, an increase in passenger numbers is making things worse.
Foot traffic at airlines has risen to pre-pandemic days as US airports have seen an average of 2.2million passengers a day since the start of June.
Overall, about three percent of scheduled flights have been cancelled this month, up one percent from last year – and the total number of cancelations rose 16 percent to 13,581 flights from one year ago, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, more than 1,300 Southwest airlines pilots picketed on Tuesday in Dallas, Texas to protest pilot fatigue, stress and stalled contract negotiations.
The FAA has said that they have strict regulations to keep pilots safe and that they increase their monitoring during times of tension, such as this.
A spokesperson told Newsweek: “We have strict duty and rest rules for pilots.
“When tensions increase between management and labor, the FAA increases its oversight.”
The situation in America is set to continue, with one pilot warning their current problems are just the tip of the iceberg.
Pilot Dennis Tajer said conditions in the US for pilots were ‘inhumane’ (stock image)Credit: Getty
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.