Airline executives, under a barrage of criticism from the public, lawmakers and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, have sought to shift blame for flight troubles this summer onto the nation’s air traffic control system. But federal data shows that airlines themselves are the biggest reason for delays in recent months and bear responsibility for an unusually high share of cancellations.
The numbers, reported by airlines and released this past week by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, also confirm the experiences of many passengers: 2022 has been a rough year for air travel. Federal transportation officials say 88,161 flights were canceled through May — the second-most in the first five months of a year since 1988, topped only by 2020 during the emergence of the pandemic.
The jump in flight delays and cancellations — stemming from surging demand in an industry that shed tens of thousands of