WICHITA (KSNW) – With dozens of delayed or canceled flights over the weekend, Wichita’s Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport was not alone.
“This is happening across the country,” said aviation expert Dean Headley. “The FAA has many things to look at.”
Headley says COVID is taking air traffic controllers out of action.
“Flights have delayed or canceled with a combination of weather and staffing issues,” said Headley.
Some at Eisenhower were waiting for flights on Sunday
“There were multiple delays until finally, they canceled,” said Cary Holt, trying to get to Florida.
He tried again Sunday.
“Canceled the flight today,” said Holt. “Yesterday the delays were long enough I wouldn’t be able to make my connecting flight, and I was going to be stuck in a different city.”
Holt will try again Monday. Alyssa Dawson was trying to get to Houston with her two kids on Sunday.
“We’ve been here since about 9:30 a.m. and we were hoping to fly out about 11:30 a.m. but that didn’t happen,” said Dawson. “We’re trying to get to, at this point, anywhere in Texas.”
Dawson finally settled on a flight to Dallas where a friend was driving seven hours to get them to Houston.
“Be patient,” said Headley. “It’s going to be spring before we know if omicron has really done irreparable damage.”
Headley says, in the long haul, the FAA can order more flights to slow or delay if the need remains for more air traffic staffing. He also expects delays and canceled flights to back off after the busy holiday season.