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Nearly 15,000 flights delayed so far during holiday travel weekend

An Delta Air Lines plane sits on the tarmac at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in Los Angeles on October 29, 2019. (Photo by Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images)

Airlines have delayed nearly 15,000 U.S. flights over the holiday weekend as of Sunday morning and canceled 1,500 others, according to FlightAware.

The update comes after more than 2.46 million people passed through the nation’s airports on Friday at the start of the busy Independence Day travel weekend, a new single-day record since the start of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, airlines have struggled to keep up with surging demand as they face staffing challenges and high fuel prices. 

They have pinned some of the blame on staffing issues at the Federal Aviation Administration, which has pushed back and said the tens of billions in stimulus dollars won by airlines should allow them to meet passengers’ expectations.

“Today is one of the year’s busiest travel days,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted on Friday. “We’re watching closely to see how airlines are meeting their responsibilities to get passengers where they need to go this weekend, providing support for operations and here to help consumers who have issues.”

The July 4 travel season is the latest holiday weekend filled with travel woes for passengers. Airlines canceled and delayed thousands of flights over the weekends preceding Memorial Day, Father’s Day and Juneteenth.

Flights departing from the East Coast have seen some of the worst issues this weekend.

Airlines so far have canceled 3 percent of their departure schedule at Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday, the most of any U.S. airport for the day. 

United Airlines, which has a hub at Newark, had removed 50 daily departures from its schedule at the airport beginning on Friday, citing airport construction and air traffic control staffing shortages. Newark delayed 27 percent of its Saturday departure schedule.

Other New York-area airports have also seen extensive delays.

Airlines delayed 36 percent of their departures at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Saturday — a total of 247 flights — the most of any domestic airport.

LaGuardia Airport on Saturday, meanwhile, saw 11 percent of its scheduled departures canceled with an additional 20 percent of departures delayed.

Ronald Reagan National Airport, located just outside Washington, D.C., delayed 29 percent of its departures on Saturday and canceled another 7 percent of departures.

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