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Out Of Gas & Short On Pilots: DFW Travelers Face Delays & Cancellations This Week

An american airlines plane at DFW airport.
An American Airlines plane at DFW airport.

Travelers have faced long delays and cancellations this week at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. Numerous issues like severe weather and logistical issues are slowing down summer travel.

Thunderstorms, supply chain issues and staffing shortages led to almost 300 flight cancellations and delays at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) earlier this week.

North Texas saw over two inches of rain on Sunday due to severe thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service. Passengers complained about being stuck on runways as pilots waited for dangerous weather conditions to clear.

The easing of pandemic restrictions has led to a surge in travel, which has spurred the return of airline workers. But protocols mean they can't dive back into the workforce right away.

Mike Boyd, president of the aviation consulting firm Boyd Group International, said those workers require extensive training, which leads to delays.

“Airlines have been trying to add the capacity that the market demands, the challenges, to bring pilots back fast enough to fly the airplanes, they have to go through training,” Boyd said. “You and I can't go into DFW and check bags, we have to have classroom training for that and working with security and hazardous materials.”

Labor shortages aren’t just affecting airlines though. Boyd adds that the entire supply chain system is seeing similar trends.

“We can't get enough drivers to drive the trucks to pipelines at some places where we're running out of fuel. I'm just very concerned that the entire supply chain, in many areas, has been broken,” he said.

That means airport hubs like DFW are often crowded due to shortages in jet fuel and workers helping customers with canceled flights.

“American Airlines is the hubbing carrier at DFW — that means a lot of people are connecting. So if they get into DFW to connect on to let's say Oklahoma City and their plane cancels, that airport gets full of people real quick,” Boyd said.

Passengers took to social media to air their grievances with the airline.

Southwest, Spirit and Delta Airlines also experienced similar delays over the week due to weather and fuel shortages.

Got a tip? Email Haya Panjwani at Follow Haya on Twitter @hayapanjw.

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Haya Panjwani is a general assignment reporter for KUT. She also served as a legislative fellow for The Texas Newsroom during the 2021 legislative session.