Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg slammed for his AWOL as Southwest Airlines collapses over the holiday – zoohousenews.com
(Natural News) Once again, the country has a major transportation problem, but the person who chose Joe Biden to head the Department of Transportation is nowhere to be found.
Tens of thousands of travelers were stranded at airports over the Christmas holiday – some even faced arrest at Nashville International Airport this week after their flight was canceled – because Southwest Airlines almost completely collapsed, having to cancel thousands of flights for several days due to significant staff shortage and other problems.
It was days before Southwest CEO Bob Jordan and his company issued a statement apologizing for stranding travelers and promising to eventually make up the deficit, according to Breitbart News:
The airline is still operating on what it calls a “reduced schedule,” leaving thousands of passengers stranded in different parts of the country.
On Wednesday, the airline canceled 2,510 flights, or 61 percent of all flights. On the same day, there were 2,914 US-related canceled flights. In other words, the Southwest accounted for 86 percent of those cancellations.
Other US airlines did not have these problems. Just one percent of United Airlines fights — 30 — were canceled on Wednesday. Delta, like Frontier, only recorded 16 canceled flights, according to FlightAware.
The problems with the Dallas-based airline were so profound that they drew bipartisan criticism from members of Congress.
“Southwest’s flight delays and cancellations are beyond unacceptable,” Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., tweeted Wednesday. “This is a company that received a $7 billion taxpayer bailout and will be paying $428 million in dividends to its wealthy shareholders.”
The Department of Transportation “must hold Southwest’s CEO accountable for his greed and incompetence,” Sanders added, according to Fox News.
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, said in a statement that federal regulations need to be updated to prevent similar disasters in the future. “The committee will examine the causes of these disruptions and their impact on consumers,” Cantwell said.
This comes after Buttigieg promised that air travel “will get better by the holidays” in an appearance on “The Late Late Show With James Corden” in September.
Republicans, meanwhile, have complained that Buttigieg has been absent for more than a year. Fox News noted that they have “complained that Buttigieg is not taking his job seriously amid a series of crises for Americans. Buttigieg was on holiday in Europe when rail unions tried to negotiate a deal in September to avoid a potentially disastrous strike. The secretary was on paternity leave with his husband and their two newborns for several months last year as the country faced supply chain shortages.”
Rep. Nancy Mace (RN.C.) noted that she almost didn’t make it home from Washington, DC, in time to see her kids for the vacation because of the delays and cancellations. She blasted the DoT for its slow response to the crisis.
“It took four days and thousands and thousands of cancellations before DOT finally spoke up; Likewise, it took four days for Southwest’s CEO to finally speak up,” Mace said on Fox & Friends on Wednesday. “I hope that at some point when we step in and deal with some of these issues, the government will be more efficient and effective.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) noted that Buttigieg doesn’t have to worry about canceled flights because his never are: He takes private jets on the taxpayer’s dime and has done so several times since taking office.
“If @USDOT is serious about the recent Southwest implosion then it should ban its leader @SecretaryPete from flying privately,” Biggs tweeted Wednesday. “Why wasn’t he aware of these challenges beforehand? Late to the game and no contact.”
Perhaps Biden should appoint people to his government based on their competence, not their ability to tick left-wing ideological boxes.