Travel

Air travel was erratic over holiday weekend and problems are expected to continue

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Summer promises to be difficult for air travel.

Nearly 400 flight cancellations were reported at U.S. airports on Monday alone, four of which were in Jacksonville, according to FlightAware. Airlines are blaming bad weather and a shortage of pilots.

More than 10,000 flights were delayed or canceled across the country from Friday to Sunday.

RELATED: Gasoline prices, inflation are forcing many to change or abandon summer travel plans

Most of the people we spoke to at Jacksonville International Airport said they had been having trouble flying over the past few months.

“My flight was supposed to leave Fort Wayne at 5am on Friday. It was canceled,” Shauna Dufour told us.

Simone Marincan, who flew from Detroit, said she recently took a flight from San Francisco that was delayed by 24 hours.

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News4JAX aviation analyst Ed Booth predicts delays and cancellations will continue for quite some time.

“This will go on for years. In my opinion, I don’t see a quick solution to this problem,” Bout said. “Airlines could start to solve the problem by hiring people and then paying for their training.”

Booth says pilot training for commercial airlines is expensive.

“Typically, these are young people who are enthusiastic about a career in aviation, especially excited about the opportunity to fly in airplanes. Very few of them succeed because they learn that it is very expensive and very difficult,” Bout said. “The cost of the air travel rating required to fly with a major airline is approaching a quarter of a million dollars.”

Booth also said that there are not enough instructors to train these pilots.

“There are not enough training aircraft. Not enough airspace,” he explained. “Flight instructors are drawn from the same pool of candidates as airline pilots, and there are not enough flight instructors, and if you don’t have enough flight instructors, you obviously can’t train additional pilots. Another perfect storm.

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When it comes to hiring pilots, airlines visit key locations across the country, Booth said.

“They go to universities with aviation training programs like Jacksonville University, hold job fairs and try to convince young people who are still in training to sign up under their brand and usually start with a commuter airline and work for their own company. to the main line,” Booth said.

Margie Jordan is a travel agent. She shared some tips to help travelers.

“Do not take the last flight of the day and make reasonable connections,” she said. “Don’t do what I did and use a short connection – and that almost guarantees you will have latency.”

Jordan said that even if the transplant isn’t perfect, take it.

“You know you will reach your destination at the end of the day,” she said.

Copyright 2022 by WJXT News4JAX – All rights reserved.

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