United Airlines again dogged by delays and cancellations

United Airlines’ operational woes continued on Thursday. 

United had canceled more than 400 mainline flights by late afternoon on Thursday, amounting to 14% of its daily schedule, according to FlightAware. United was having difficulties at its hubs in Newark, Chicago O’Hare and Denver on Thursday.

It’s the fifth consecutive day of unusually high cancellations for United following thunderstorms that swept over the Northeast last weekend. The carrier cancelled 10,963 flights, or 22.4% of its mainline schedule, between June 25 and June 28. That included cancellation rates of 28% on June 27 and June 28. 

In a statement, United said it is making progress toward getting its operation back on track in time for the July 4 weekend. 

“We’re seeing continued meaningful improvement today after an overnight effort to further repair schedules and match separated crews with aircraft,” United said. “As the recovery progresses, delays and cancellations will continue to decline as we head into what we expect to be a very busy holiday weekend. We’re closely watching the weather, especially in Denver and Chicago today, and are hopeful our customers will still see fewer last-minute cancellations — which will reduce lines at the airport.”

United CEO Scott Kirby blamed FAA air traffic control staffing shortages for its difficulties at Newark Airport this week, which then spread through the United network. 

DOT secretary Pete Buttigieg pushed back against that assertion in an interview with CNN on Wednesday. 

“United Airlines has some internal issues they need to work through. They’ve really been struggling this week, even relative to other U.S. airlines,” he said. 

Other airlines with a large New York-area presence also canceled high numbers of flights this week, especially JetBlue and Delta regional subsidiary Endeavor. 

Those carriers appeared to be back on track Thursday. JetBlue has canceled 2% of its schedule, while Endeavor has no cancellations, FlightAware data shows.

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