Denver International Airport was forced to delay and cancel hundreds of flights due to high winds.
According to FlightAware, the airport has delayed 608 flights and cancelled 161 flights as of Wednesday night.
Fox Business reported:
An alert listed on the Denver International Airport’s website on Wednesday asks customers to check with their airline before going to the airport, as high winds were causing delays and cancellations throughout the day. The airport is currently under a Traffic Management Program by the Federal Aviation Administration, and some arriving flights are being delayed by an average of 1 hour and 2 minutes due to the high winds.
High Wind Warnings stretched across much of the Midwest and part of the West on Wednesday. Other areas in Colorado saw dangerously high winds on Wednesday, with some areas reporting wind gusts above 90 mph. Lamar, Colorado, for example, saw wind gusts of up to 107 mph.
According to the outlet, other airports — including Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas — each had more than 100 flights canceled or delayed on Wednesday.
News of the cancellations follow recent severe weather in the American heartland. Over the weekend, at least 30 tornadoes devastated Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. The largest tornado that struck the region tore through over 200 miles of Kentucky; as of Tuesday, 74 people have been confirmed dead and more than 100 remain unaccounted for.
One forecast from catastrophe modeling firm Karen Clark & Company says that insured losses may total $3 billion; meanwhile, credit rating agency Fitch said that costs could rise to $5 billion.
Beyond severe weather, airlines are facing labor shortages — as well as resistance from employees hesitant to comply with COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
In testimony to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker explained that his firm — which has about 130,000 workers — has already onboarded more than 16,000 employees in 2021.
“We believe this positive momentum will continue into next year, as we’ve set a target of hiring an additional 18,000 team members in 2022,” Parker said. “Each time we add to our ranks, it’s like a dividend payment on the investment made in our team through the [payroll support program]; instead of building back from collapse, we’re growing to provide more promising careers in good-paying jobs to hard-working individuals who are the lifeblood of our nation’s economy.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Freedom Flyers — an organization of airline and transportation workers opposing vaccine mandates from airlines and the federal government — recently disagreed with American Airlines’ claims that many cancellations are attributable to high winds.
“The system is stressed as it is and now we have unions coming out and gaslighting their members that if they are unvaccinated, they need counseling and education,” Freedom Flyers founding member Jason Kusinich told The Daily Wire, citing an email from the president of the American Airlines Pilots’ Union, which said that unvaccinated employees need “education and counseling.”
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