Buttigieg Knew Airlines Would Implode, Did Nothing: Report

  • The recent holiday travel meltdown wasn’t a fluke or a one-off — cancellations will continue because airlines routinely sell tickets for flights they know they may not be able to staff and operate, the chief executive of United Airlines told investors yesterday. The stunning admission from the highest reaches of the airline industry confirms a warning sent by state attorneys general to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg prior to the December travel meltdown.
  • However, Buttigieg — the nation’s top regulator of the airline industry — has not used his power to crack down on the problem, as those state officials have demanded.
  • In unusually candid comments to company investors, United CEO Scott Kirby said ongoing cancellations among competitors are happening because the airlines are advertising schedules they can’t actually fly.
  • “There are a number of airlines who cannot fly their schedules,” he said. “The customers are paying the price. They’re canceling a lot of flights. But they simply can’t fly the schedules today.”