Pete Buttigieg speaks about Chinese balloon and airline meltdowns

From thousands of canceled flights to planes narrowly avoiding collisions on the runway, airlines across the US have had big problems.

In this TSR Newz exclusive interview with the White House Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg spoke with The shadow room‘s Justin Carter on what the Department of Transportation plans to do to turn things around and what big changes we can expect from airlines in the future.

Pete Buttigieg enters the shadow room to discuss plans to fix ongoing airline issues

And as the summer travel season approaches, many airlines are doing a lot more with less and have taken note of what happened to Southwest Airlines over the holidays.

17,000 Southwest flights were canceled during one of the busiest travel times of the year, leaving potential passengers stranded at the airport and unable to get to customer service for days.

A Senate hearing was held Thursday at which Southwest leaders issued a heartfelt apology and said they did not have enough equipment to handle the winter freezes most U.S. states were experiencing.

Meanwhile, Southwest executives announced on Friday that they are rolling out fixes to their crew planning system, which was down during the extreme weather conditions the country faced in late 2022.

Ongoing airline troubles scare travelers as several planes nearly collide on the runway

Southwest’s airline problems were just one of many ongoing problems.

On Jan. 13, two planes nearly collided at New York’s JFK Airport when a Delta plane taking off nearly collided with an American Airlines plane crossing the runway ahead, coming within 1,000 feet of the crash site.

The same thing happened last Saturday in Austin, Texas, when a FedEx plane landed just as a Southwest Airlines flight was cleared to take off. They were only 100 feet apart in this case.

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Joe Biden praised his $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, $25 billion of which will transform our airports and air traffic control.

Transport Secretary Pete Buttigieg says the changes are absolutely critical.

Pictured: White House Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

“That almost misses JFK, that was a situation where there was pilot error, a quick-thinking air traffic controller stepped in, I actually spoke to the controller, and he said, ‘Look, you know this, it’s just me doing my job might. But of course this job is so important, life-saving,” said Buttigieg The shadow room.

Buttigieg praises ‘many layers of protection’ but says ‘that alone isn’t maintained’

Buttigieg continued that the “good news is that there are many, many layers of protection,” but “it doesn’t hold up on its own.”

“Now the good news is that there are many, many layers of protection, so they’re really focused on eliminating every single point of failure to make sure there are systems that secure systems, people that support people. But even that doesn’t happen on its own. We must work to continue the extraordinarily safe track record of passenger travel in America.”

He added that “we have the most complex airspace in the world” and claimed that “despite recent incidents, flying in America remains the safest way to travel”.

Pictured: Passengers stranded at the airport (Courtesy of YouTube.)

“We have the most complex airspace in the world,” said Buttigieg. “And yet flying in America is still the safest way to travel, and we want to keep it that way. One is what I could call the back building, most passengers will never find themselves in an air traffic controller, but every passenger relies on what’s going on in that air traffic controller tower.”

White House Transportation Secretary Says ‘We Are Investing in Equipment, Training and Staff’

Buttigieg continued, “We’re investing in the equipment…the training…. and the people in the vision to further modernize this system”, among other investments.

“We invest in the equipment, we invest in the training, we invest in the people with the vision of further modernizing this system. But at the same time, we’re also investing a lot in things that passengers see the terminals themselves, everything from investing in small airports where they sometimes didn’t even have permanent buildings, to some of the largest airports in the United States that are ready for one wider concourse, a better security checkpoint experience and an improved baggage handling system.”

Buttigieg speaks about the recently launched balloon last week and the coordination between agencies

He also addressed the recently shot-down balloon, believed to have come from a Chinese spy mission that grounded or delayed “about 55 flights,” calling it “a very prominent example” of coordination between airlines, the Federal Aviation Administration and even the military.

“Remember that the balloon flies at extremely high altitude, which meant that if it was going to be launched as it ended up being, it would be flying through airspace and you had to make sure no plane was flying below that altitude involved.” could be, of course also takes care of the passengers on the ground. So the FAA called a ground stop, about 55 flights were delayed, I think an average of between an hour and two hours while this operation was going on. And that was a very prominent example.

Buttigieg assured Americans that “this type of coordination happens every day between the military space program” and the FAA.

But that kind of coordination happens every day between the military space program, if you just think of a space launch that goes through national airspace on its way up to orbit, that could be an area where commercial flight operations take place. And so the FAA works to ensure at every step, whether it’s military operations, space operations, operations, weather emergencies, or anything else, that we play it safe and make sure passengers are always safe.

Pictured: Delta Airlines plane nearly collided (courtesy Ports of New York and New Jersey)

President Biden’s new law will pour billions of dollars into US infrastructure

On Tuesday, President Biden said the United States used to be number one in infrastructure but lamented that the country had recently slipped to 13th in the world.

The infrastructure bill will fund billions of dollars in road and bridge projects while replacing toxic lead pipes in some of America’s oldest cities.

Philadelphia, which is one of those older cities, will soon receive $500 million to replace aging lead pipes, many of which pump water to black communities.

Meanwhile, Washington DC and Rochester, New York are also receiving over $50 million to replace or repair water lines. Pete Buttigieg speaks about Chinese balloon and airline meltdowns

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