Department of Transportation watchdog to investigate flight cancellations and delays

ByRoss Levitt, CNNWire
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Thousands of U.s. flights canceled amid severe winter storm
More than 2,800 flights around the United States were canceled on Christmas Day because of a winter storm.

The Department of Transportation's internal watchdog said Tuesday it is launching a probe into the spike in flight cancellations and delays that have come in the wake of the pandemic.

NOTE: The video in the media player is from a previous report.

The Office of the Inspector General audit will focus on the federal agency's role in these cancellations, rather than the airlines. In a memo, the IG said more than "30,000 of the delayed and cancelled flights were attributable to issues in the National Airspace System such as heavy traffic and air traffic control."

It identified disruptions that took place over the summer and during the Christmas holiday and pointed to staffing and weather as contributing factors. The IG wants to find out both the causes of the delays and cancellations as well as the accuracy of the government's data around flight disruptions.

Southwest Airlines under scrutiny as wave of flight cancellations continue at LAX, nationwide

Another round of cancellations from Southwest Airlines on Wednesday impacted hundreds of flights at Southern California airports, continuing a holiday travel mess that's stranded thousands of people nationwide.

"We are initiating this audit to inform Congress and the general public about the reported causes of these events. This will be first in a series of audits to understand and evaluate flight delays and cancellations as well as DOT's actions to address them," the memo stated.

The IG plans to conduct its work at DOT and Federal Aviation Administration headquarters, it said.

The IG also announced a separate audit of the FAA's planned NextGen effort to upgrade the air traffic system, a multibillion-dollar infrastructure program.

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