(New York · Washington · Atlanta) · The Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) demanded US government passenger compensation following the grounding of all U.S. flights for the first time since 9/11 for nearly three hours yesterday due to a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) outage traced to a database failure. The technical failure caused over 10,000 flight delays and over 1300 flight cancelations with millions of passengers around the country affected and over $200 million of economic damage estimated by APEX.
APEX called upon U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Pete Buttigieg to hold the government to the same level of accountability that he had demanded from airlines the day prior to the FAA failure. On Tuesday, Secretary Buttigieg stated on Twitter, “We will enforce their responsibility to refund flight tickets and reimburse for alternate & ground transport, baggage costs, meals and hotels.” With a program for similar government accountability for flight delays, funds could be reimbursed to customers from the billions of tax dollars charged to passengers.
“The US government needs to rise to the same level of accountability to passengers as the airlines that have been paying hundreds of millions of dollars to protect customers for non-weather-related delays and cancellations,” APEX CEO Dr. Joe Leader stated. “Air traffic control failures happen too often. This national failure highlights a need for the US government to redirect airline taxes to practice what they preach: protect customers when it’s your fault within your control.”
APEX pointed to the FAA system failure as further underlining the need for air traffic control modernization. In addition to further protecting passengers from failures, U.S. government research has indicated that a Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) could reduce airline fuel utilization by up to 5% through more fuel-efficient traffic management. The update could save billions of dollars annually paid by airlines and their passengers in more efficient travel.
APEX Director, Marketing & Communications