Mass flight cancelations and extensive delays have been widespread this year, especially in the summer months, with airlines slashing schedules and reducing the frequency of flight routes due to staffing shortages and other pandemic-related problems.
Though the issue appears to be widespread in major cities in the U.S., a new report indicates that one specific state might be responsible for a vast majority of flight issues: Florida.
According to a new report by the Wall Street Journal, the majority of flight delays and cancelations can be traced back to issues flying in and out of the Sunshine State. Data shows that nearly one-third of all flights on major U.S. airlines (Delta, JetBlue, United, etc) must pass through Florida airspace.
However, what happens in that airspace is beyond the airlines’ control, from air traffic to bad weather to a number of other possible delays and distractions.
And though New York’s LaGuardia Airport has made headlines the past few months for mass cancelations and disgruntled passengers (it was cited as the number one worst airport for U.S. cancelations), one of Florida’s biggest hubs, Miami International Airport, managed to crack the top 10 with over 3.7% of total flights canceled.
The most recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation tracking flights from April 2021 to March 2022 found that four of the top five airports that ranked the worst for percentage of on-time arrivals were all in Florida: Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Tampa.
“Numerous factors are contributing to air travel delays and cancellations in Florida. The number one cause for delays and cancellation of flights by airlines is convective weather in Florida. Second is demand for travel to Florida,” the FAA said in a statement this past May. “The FAA is working with airlines to share information to keep aircraft moving safely when weather and other airspace events constrain capacity. The FAA is placing additional air traffic controllers at facilities in Florida to support our long-term strategy of staffing to increased traffic demand.”
In fact, delays and cancelations were so bad that the FAA hosted a two-day conference with airlines and aviation industry executives to address the ongoing issue of Florida flights, particularly in the Jacksonville area.
It’s estimated that 36% of visitors to the Sunshine State last year came via airplane, with an estimated 122 million people visiting the state, not including residents.
As of Tuesday morning, there were approximately 1,070 delayed flights in the U.S., with 64 total cancelations.