More than 2,000 flights within, into or out of the United States that were scheduled to take place between Friday and Sunday have been canceled and nearly 14,000 more have been delayed ahead of Juneteenth and Father’s Day, which both fall on Sunday this year, according to data from FlightAware.
FlightAware found that 1,473 flights were canceled and 8,958 were delayed on Friday, while 818 have been canceled and 4,884 have been delayed so far on Saturday. Additionally, 419 flights that were scheduled for Sunday have been canceled as of Saturday evening.
The disruptions come amid heavy airport traffic this weekend. Figures provided by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) show that 2,438,784 people passed through airport checkpoints on Friday. That marks the highest traffic recorded by the agency since Nov. 28, 2021, the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
The airline industry suffered losses in revenue during the start of the pandemic, as the virus discouraged people from traveling. Amid the nation’s COVID-19 recovery last summer, TSA Administrator Darby LaJoye warned employees that there would likely be staffing shortages at more than 100 airports in the country.
Employees catching the coronavirus, too, has at times contributed to staffing shortages at airlines. Some airlines earlier this year said they were forced to cut flights after some of their staffers called out sick.
Major airlines including Delta and Southwest have also cut thousands of flights from their schedules for this summer, citing factors such as labor shortages, issues with vendors and COVID-19.
Severe weather conditions have caused flight cancellations and delays in recent months as well.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Saturday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said the US may penalize airlines if flights continue to be disrupted in large numbers and noted that he had recently faced a cancellation himself.
“That is happening to a lot of people, and that is exactly why we are paying close attention here to what can be done and how to make sure the airlines are delivering,” Buttigieg told the wire service.