Photo Credit: TN
Lawmakers Want Airlines Fined For Cancelations
Should airlines be fined for the current flight disruptions?
In 1981, President Reagan fired more than half of the 13,000 air traffic controllers who initiated a wildcat strike. This plan by the Reagan administration was a strategic one. In preparation, the administration put air traffic control students through accelerated tracks and got retired employees to come back. Additionally, Reagan threatened protesters to get back to work within the next 48 hours to avoid termination. By the next morning, 1,345 air traffic controllers returned to work and 75% of commercial flights were back to normal — but the PATCO (Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization) was forever dissolved.
Although the pilots’ pickets of 2022 have only constituted off-duty pilots, there is nothing stopping lawmakers from employing these aggressive anti-union tactics if Airlines continue to stall renegotiations. Especially, since senators are upset with major airlines’ current operations. Airlines canceled roughly 3.5 percent of flights in the first three months of 2022 – the highest figure since 2014. One of the busiest travel weekends since the pandemic is ahead of these decisions. Local economies are relying on all forms of new business.
Let’s take a look at what might happen if airlines are fined for the recent travel disruptions.
Here’s What We Know:
Airlines are trying their best to keep customers as happy as possible. Last week, Delta offered eight passengers who could give up their seats $10k to make room on an oversold flight. This came a day after Delta pilots began picketing for more the re-negotiation of their contracts. Delta pilots join a list of pilots from other airlines doing the same.
In a tweet Wednesday, democratic senator Bernie Sanders said that “airlines should be fined $55,000 per passenger for every flight they cancel when they know it can’t be fully staffed.” With pushes like this from local politicians, especially someone as socialist as Sanders, the Biden administration can help airlines by introducing an entirely new workforce — restimulating profits for airlines at the cost of the current workforce on strike. Just this past week, airlines had to cut 2,000 flights from their schedule.”
Democratic Senators Edward J. Markey and Senator Richard Blumenthal also stepped in to voice their opinions. In a letter to the 10 major domestic airlines asking they “resolve any scheduling issues ahead of the July Fourth holiday weekend.” They also requested data from the companies on flight delays.
Airlines are under a lot of pressure to perform, amidst staff shortages, overworked flight crews, and an economic recession. With the worst of the pandemic being over, pilots are asking that their contracts be revisited to meet their current needs of workers. If left unresolved, the aviation industry could find itself dealing with wildcat strikes, further affecting the travel economy in the near future.