Severe weather cancels, delays flights at Sky Harbor Airport

Weather was an issue Friday, but pilot shortage still a problem.
As a result of weather, at least 45 flights were canceled, while nearly 100 flights were delayed.
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 8:47 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Wind and dust were an issue for people flying through Phoenix Friday evening. There was a ground stop for flights coming and going in the late afternoon.

Viewers sent us pictures of the dust storm moving towards Sky Harbor Airport. Our weather team says wind gusts reached 53 miles per hour at the airport. At least 45 flights were canceled, while nearly 100 flights were delayed.

Brad Mortz was waiting for his wife to arrive. She had a nonstop flight from Tampa to Phoenix. However, her flight was diverted to El Paso, Texas, because of the weather in the Valley. “She thought she was pretty smart getting a direct nonstop from Tampa,” he said with a laugh. “Her last comment was so much for a direct flight, ha!”

Weather was the main issue for flyers Friday, but the worker shortage is still an issue. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics shows more than 20% of flights departing from Sky Harbor this year have been delayed. That’s almost double from last year. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg says the DOT is working on new rules to try and hold airlines more accountable.

“We’ve seen this enormously frustrating situation of airlines often unable to serve tickets they are selling. We have been pressing them to have more realistic schedules, to make sure they are staffing appropriately, to make sure there is customer service so if there is a problem with your flight you can get somebody on the phone to help you,” said Buttigieg.

The Secretary spoke exclusively with Arizona’s Family this week. He believes hiring more crew members is the biggest factor in reducing delays and cancellations. “In the long run the thing that will make the biggest difference is having more pilots trained,” he said.

To look at more stats around delayed or canceled flights, click/tap here.