The Federal Aviation Administration experienced a computer outage early Wednesday morning and ordered all departing flights to remain grounded. The result was hundreds of cancelations and thousands of delays for passengers across the country.
The agency lifted the grounding order just before 9 a.m. EST.
Critis say the FAA acted too late to keep the delays from snowballing… and much too late to save the reputation of President Joe Biden’s Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
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Buttigieg, despite leading the FAA’s parent agency, reportedly found himself blindsided by the outage.
“I just spoke to Buttigieg. They don’t know what the cause is. But I was on the phone with him about 10 minutes,” Biden told reporters Wednesday while leaving the White House. “I told him to report directly to me when they find out. Air traffic can still land safely, just not take off right now. We don’t know what the cause of it is.”
Biden’s Transportation Department has made this mistake before.
Last year, the Biden administration received a briefing about the issues with customer service at Southwest Airlines, and yet the administration found itself blindsided by the airline’s meltdown last month.
Buttigieg has made the same mistake twice in the span of only a few weeks.
Some liberals have tried to absolve Buttigieg of any blame for Southwest’s issues, and they’re instead blaming airline executives.
“After the utter disaster of the last month, Southwest holds its executives to account by… giving a bunch of them promotions. They are just mocking Pete Buttigieg. And why shouldn’t they?” Matt Stoller of the American Economic Liberties Project wrote on Twitter.
But in this instance, Buttigieg manages the agency causing the delays.