Aviation industry is short 32,000 pilots, mechanics and air traffic controllers – as Pete Buttigieg says his office is actively investigating airlines for ‘unrealistic scheduling’ | Video

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Americans may face another decade of persistent flight cancelations and delays amid a desperate staffing crisis.

The industry is currently short about 32,000 commercial pilots, mechanics and air traffic controllers, according to analysis by CBS News.

Airlines have struggled to keep up with a post-COVID travel surge, which has caused major travel disruptions over the past two years.

And experts say the trend is likely to continue, as it takes years to train airline professionals — and because pilots must retire by law at the age of 65 and air traffic controllers at 56.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says his office is now investigating airlines for ‘unrealistic scheduling,’ or listing more flights than carriers can safely accommodate.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says his office is investigating airlines for ‘unrealistic scheduling’ or listing more flights than they have the staff for

Travelers have faced major flight delays and cancelations over the past two years as the aviation industry struggles to meet the demand of a post-COVID surge despite a staff shortage. Travelers are seen here watching the flight screens at JFK Airport in New York City on December 23

The persistent flight delays and cancelations have caused long lines at the airports. People are pictured here waiting in line at the security check in at JFK on June 30

Airlines had already been struggling to retain employees for years before the COVID pandemic hit, but the problem became significantly worse in the aftermath, when airlines drastically cut back their routes and laid off thousands of workers.

Many of those who remained decided to seize the opportunity to take an early retirement or leave the industry altogether.

Then when worldwide travel resumed as normal in 2022 and 2023, the airlines found themselves without enough employees to meet the pent-up demand.

The industry is now short…

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