Air travel won’t be soaring to new heights anytime soon.
A new report from a travel technology company warns that the next few years will be filled with “elevated” disruptions from airlines.
The damning data from Amadeus also included a survey of senior industry leaders who anticipate these heightened delays and disruptions to be an unfortunate “new normal.”
“More than half of airline and airport leaders reported experiencing more disruption today than in 2019,” the company wrote.
As for the culprit behind chaos at the gate, on the tarmac, and in the skies, “the rapid return of demand for air travel” was cited as one of the main reasons.
Harry Grewal, the Director of Infrastructure and Customer Experience for the International Air Transport Association doubled down on the issues people traveling with a vengeance has brought to logistics.
“In 2022 airlines struggled with supply and staffing issues, but during 2023, airlines and their partners are simply facing an unprecedented return of demand,” he said. “Of course, that’s very welcome, but it brings its own operational challenges.”
Delta President Glen Hauenstein blames this on “revenge travel” of people, especially Boomers, restoring or planning new trips post-pandemic.
“Revenge travel has years to go, particularly in long-haul international,” he said on a January earnings call.
“People in their retirement years want to travel. We weren’t able to accommodate them all last year.”
Other contributing factors include skill shortages and bad weather. Half of the respondents in the survey added that a “lack of common technology that brings stakeholders together” exacerbated disruptions as well.
Issues like that latter mean that workers are tied to only making phone calls to resolve technical issues.
Interviewed industry leaders aren’t holding back on what a nightmare flying has become, either.
They “acknowledge the historic difficulties caused by commercial tensions and the generally subpar way that disruption is managed today,” according to the report.
Recently, Southwest Airlines was slammed with a hefty, $140M fine for historially abysmal mismanagement of holiday cancellations in 2022. The airline also cancelled 700 flights for bad weather in mid-January.
Locally, Newark Airport was found to be the transit hub with the most cancellations in the nation.