Markey and Blumenthal Statement on New Data That Reveals Airline-caused Factors Biggest Cause of Flight Delays

Earlier this month, Senators queried major airlines about their information technology systems in light of recent widespread cancellations and delays

Washington (August 24, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, issued the following statement today after new data from the Department of Transportation and reported by Bloomberg reveals airline problems, including technical glitches and mechanical failures, as the leading cause of airline delays, surpassing weather and air-traffic control problems. Recently, Southwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines experienced technology issues that resulted in thousands of flight cancellations across the country, prompting the Senators to send letters to 13 major airlines about their efforts to ensure airline information technology (IT) systems are reliable and resilient. Yesterday, Senators Blumenthal, Markey and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called on the Obama administration to follow through with a recent Executive Order to promote competitive markets in all sectors, including airline pricing.

“This report confirms what countless passengers across the country already know, technical glitches and other airline issues are the leading cause of flight delays in the United States.  If we are going to meet our nation’s 21st century transportation needs, we need to upgrade the 20th century information technology systems that are the heart of airlines' problems. Now that four airlines control 85 percent of domestic capacity, it is more important than ever that airlines take all necessary steps to modernize their technology systems and prevent such delays from occurring.”

 

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