GOP lawmakers press airlines on flight cancellations

GOP lawmakers press airlines on flight cancellations
© Getty Images

Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee are asking the airline industry to explain a recent surge in flight cancellations, lawmakers announced Thursday.

In a letter to industry trade group Airlines for America, eight of the committee’s Republicans expressed concern that airlines have struggled to keep up with increased demand for travel.

They asked the group to explain airlines’ plans to recover from the pandemic, and how the companies spent billions in government aid that was meant to keep employees on the payroll.  

ADVERTISEMENT

“As our society continues to rebound, it is critical we ensure this industry and the executives at major airlines are provided the necessary resources to make a robust comeback,” Rep. Ralph NormanRalph Warren NormanEthics panel upholds 0 mask fines against Greene, other GOP lawmakers GOP lawmakers press airlines on flight cancellations 'I want to cry': House Republicans take emotional trip to the border MORE (R-S.C.), who led the letter, said in a statement.

The lawmakers asked the trade group to schedule a briefing on the matter by July 21. 

Most major airlines are struggling with delays and cancellations that have enraged summer travelers. Airlines canceled thousands of flights in June and July. 

Industry experts say airlines don’t have enough trained pilots and other airport personnel to accommodate the influx of customers. U.S. airports are seeing around 2 million travelers each day, nearly matching the demand in 2019. 

Congress gave $54 billion to airlines to help them survive the pandemic and keep their staff intact. But most airlines asked pilots to take early retirements or voluntary furloughs, and many airline contractors let go of their employees despite taking government aid.

Airlines for America has stated that airlines would have had to lay off hundreds of thousands of workers if not for government aid, making any kind of swift recovery impossible.

Airlines, like other industries, are feeling the effects of a nationwide worker shortage. In their letter to airlines, GOP lawmakers blamed the record number of job openings on increased unemployment benefits.

A recent Morning Consult poll found that 13 percent of jobless respondents turned down a job offer because they receive enough money from unemployment insurance.