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Tipsheet

Buttigieg Finally Admits Something We've Known About Air Travel Under His Watch

Allie Vugrincic/The Vindicator via AP, Pool

Even The Hill is taking notice of near-air collisions occurring under Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. The holiday season was a mess for air travel, partially because a software glitch that Pete knew about and did nothing about caused virtually the entire flight schedule of Southwest Airlines to crash. That ripple effect relegated many to airport hell over Christmas. In January, we almost had a Tenerife-like situation at JFK airport. And there have been multiple incidents like this, that have occurred at other airports. What is going on? Mayor Pete even acknowledged that more mistakes are occurring (via The Hill) [emphasis mine]: 

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday said that there have been “more mistakes than usual” in U.S. air travel recently after dozens of close calls, pressing the air travel sector to help address the situation. 

“U.S. aviation remains an exceptionally safe mode of travel — whether you compare it to other modes, whether you compare it to other places or whether you compare it to other times in our own history. We take nothing for granted and we are particularly concerned because we have seen an uptick in serious close calls that we must address together,” Buttigieg said at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety summit.

“Initial information suggests that more mistakes than usual are happening across the system, on runways, at gates while planes are pushing back, in control towers, and on flight decks,” the secretary added. 

The FAA convened the summit after a series of close calls among planes. Buttigieg told ABC News recently that the U.S. is on track to have more than 20 close calls with aircraft this year. 

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating a close call in Florida last month, when a flight was cleared to take off on the same runway where another was cleared to land and another incident in Texas last month when a cargo plane flew over the top of a commercial flight taking off.   

The FAA in January had a systems shutdown that briefly halted all flights nationwide due to a computer outage. 

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Oh, so because they were near misses, it means all is well, right? That is such a Biden line: planes are nearly crashing everywhere, delays abound, and air travel is overall rotting in a cesspool, but it’s “still exceptionally safe mode of travel.” 

Pete also must deal with the slew of train derailments under his watch, and he doesn’t care. He can’t because he doesn’t know how to do his job. That was evident months ago but even more explicit regarding his response to the toxic train crash in East Palestine, Ohio. While that was unfolding, he barely recognized that this was a crisis, instead lecturing us about the dangers of the construction business having too many white people participating in it.

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