Delta Air Lines is reviewing a current incident that saw a pilot reportedly blame US Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg for delays at Florida airports.
US Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg
The comment arrived before Delta flight DL2274 from Atlanta (ATL) to Fort Myers (RSW), which was delayed after a national ground stop at Florida airports in the state.
For airline passengers in the United States, 2023 has been off to a tough opening. Winter Storm Elliott disrupted flights through the Christmas weekend, while airlines like Southwest Airline saw massive scheduling problems nowadays after. On January 2nd, almost all Florida airports were forced to give a ground stop, delaying and preventing flights from arriving.
This caused trouble in cities across the country, and Delta’s hub and world’s-busiest-airport Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson was no exception.
According to Newsweek, 1 pilot reportedly made information at the gate blaming Secretary Buttigieg personally for the problems with air traffic control.
While many just saw this as a political quip at the recent problem, some were less pleased with the politically-motivated statement.
One passenger took to Twitter to ask Delta to look into the matter
While the Tweet has since been deleted, it caught enough traction to merit a reply from Delta Airlines. The carrier is now looking into the matter and could potentially investigate the pilot for the announcement. Airlines are permitted to prevent staff from making political information while on duty, a policy that most follow to prevent problems while working flights.
Yesterday, flights out of major airports in Florida, such as Miami, Orlando, and others, were postponed due to the Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) giving a ground stop. A ground stop delays or prevents flights from departing their origin airports to ensure lesser congestion at the destination.
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This week’s problem was caused by the “En Route Automation Modernization” system, which the Federal Aviation Administration describes as the “backbone of the nation’s airspace system.”
While the ERAM transition was completed 8 years ago, technical problems recently meant Florida Airports were affected. However, the ground stop was lifted by 12:45 PM PST, and flights slowly returned to normal schedule. FlightAware data from today shows that Orlando (11%) and Miami (6%) are still seeing some delays, but nowhere close to yesterday’s problems which were as high as 50%.
With another potential bomb cyclone brewing on the West Coast, US airlines will be preparing for another difficult week this year. However, hopefully, the lessons of the past will leave them more prepared than last week.
Delta Air Lines has seen itself in the spotlight for its social media policies, which prohibit political information from staff. This extends to those on the ground as well, mainly the flight crew members, meaning that the pilot in charge of DL2274 may be in trouble for his statements.
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