Busy summer travel season kicks off with thousands of flight cancellations, delays

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – The holiday weekend proved a rough start to the summer travel season with thousands of global flights canceled since Friday, including hundreds on Memorial Day.

FlightAware reports more than 7,000 flights around the world were canceled this holiday weekend.

And dozens of flights to Honolulu were delayed.

Airlines blamed bad weather, traffic control problems and staff shortages.

Gary Brown’s Friday flight from Indiana to Hawaii was one of thousands nationwide canceled over Memorial Day Weekend.

“We had to stay in Orange County that night – come in the next day,” Brown said. “So, kind of lost a day really.”

Stephanie Jackson’s flight from Los Angeles was delayed for ten hours Tuesday.

“We’ve been saving our money and just waiting so anxiously to go on vacation and to have this experience it does put a huge damper on it,” said Jackson.

George Hanzawa, CEO of George’s Aviation said pilots are in high demand after the pandemic caused many to retire early.

And even those who are coming out of retirement must be retrained.

Hanzawa said the shortage is partly due to rising fuel prices. He said it’s about 70% of the cost of training to be a pilot.

“I do not know how to push that on to the customers without hurting them, too,” said Hanzawa. “So we’re trying everything possible to keep the prices reasonable, and allow them to still reach their goals.”

Isaiah Jumila has several flying licenses, but wants to work for Hawaiian Airlines, which requires 1,500 flight hours.

So far, Jumila has 300.

“The cost is definitely pretty expensive,” said Jumila. “I would have to time build with other pilots to split the costs because right now, we have to pay about $ 180 per hour for the aircraft rental.”

Hanzawa says the demand for pilots will be around for a while.

According to the FAA, only 4,300 pilots graduated in 2021.

Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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