Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg came under a hail of criticism as the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) computer system that provides important operational flight safety information grounded flights in the United States last week, in what may be a long-term problem that has been ignored.
Critics says Americans should be asking how someone with absolutely no relevant experience won Senate confirmation to a critical cabinet post.
The FAA issued a statement that said it was working to restore the Notice to Air Missions System (NOTAM), but flights across the national airspace could be affected until it was fully operational. On Tuesday night the FAA”s NOTAM system suffered an outage that lasted until Wednesday morning.
The U.S. aviation sector struggled to return to normal on Wednesday after the agency imposed a nationwide ground stop that forced a 90-minute halt to all U.S. departing flights.
The massive failure came only weeks after another air travel blunder when Southwest Airlines canceled thousands of flights over Christmas weekend.
More than 10,000 flights have been delayed so far and over 1,300 canceled, according to FlightAware, in the first national grounding of flights in about two decades. Many industry officials compared the grounding to what occurred after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
Buttigieg’s tenure has been plagued by multiple crises, ranging from broken supply chains to repeated widespread commercial airline delays.
“What’s happening with the railroads, airlines & the supply chain is a result of a small city mayor being made the Secretary of Transportation as a means to pad his resume for President,” said Nina Turner, a senior fellow at the left-wing Institute on Race, Power and Political Economy. “Secretary Buttigeig is a prime example of failing up.”
“Just a few weeks after Buttigieg complained about Southwest Airlines’ failure to upgrade its system, FAA has an even bigger technology problem that is impacting national air travel,” said Lisa McCormick. “The software that caused thousands of flight delays and cancellations is 30 years old and at least six years away from being updated.”
Buttigieg was a lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserve and the elected mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and he worked on a number of political campaigns before President Joe Biden appointed him as secretary to the U.S. Department of Transportation in February 2021.
Buttigieg is a smart guy who graduated from Harvard College and the University of Oxford, but being a Rhodes Scholar is no substitute for actual experience in the realm of transportation, but ‘Mayor Pete’ doesn’t have any.