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FAA Official Discusses Flight Delays Across United States

U.S. airlines are suffering major delays across the country. Federal Aviation Administration official Marion Blakey talks to the NewsHour about what is causing the delays and how the government is handling the frustrating situation.

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  • RAY SUAREZ:

    It's been, to say the least, a trying year for travelers: 900,000 flights delayed, 93,000 cancellations. They've dropped the airlines' and industry's on-time performance ratings to the worst they've been in 13 years, according to a report yesterday from the Department of Transportation.

    The government says an increase in the numbers of flyers is somewhat to blame for the problems, as is the weather. Today, some passengers at Washington Ronald Reagan National Airport expressed their frustrations.

  • TERRELL REAGAN, Airline Passenger:

    My flight was two-hours delayed, no reason. Then I was told it was leaving at 1:45, which is right now, but it's not. It's leaving at 3:15. So they called to check on the flight, and they said, "No, it's going to leave at 2:00. Go stand in line, because it may leave early." So if it leaves early, you get credit for an early flight that's five hours late, I guess. Have patience.

  • DAVE CHURCH, Airline Passenger:

    Anytime you fly, I'd say you have a 50-50 chance of getting where you're going on time.

  • JANICE BLAKE, Airline Passenger:

    We're paying for this; we should get what we expect. They need to be on time.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    The airline industry and the Federal Aviation Administration point to an out-of-date air traffic system as a big part of the problem. Congress is currently considering legislation that would fund the FAA's next-generation system.

    For a closer look at that and what's causing many of these headaches for passengers, we're joined by FAA Administrator Marion Blakey.

    And welcome. A third of all flights delayed. For the purpose of this conversation, what's a delayed flight, technically?