Climate change behind growing flight chaos, says Transportation Sec’y Buttigieg

US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks during a press conference the day after the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, at the White House in Washington, US, March 27, 2024.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said climate change is one of the culprits in increased flight turbulence.

“The reality is, the impacts of climate change are already affecting us in terms of transportation,” Buttigieg said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, predicting chaos is something that will continue to “affect American travelers, whether here or abroad.”

“We have seen it in all forms, from even statistically improbable heat waves that threaten to melt transportation system cables in the Pacific Northwest, to to, as you mentioned, hurricane seasons are becoming more and more severe and the signs are showing.” that chaos is up about 15%,” he continued. “That means evaluating anything and everything we can do to solve that problem.”

ONE learn published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters last year showed that clear air turbulence (CAT) has increased from 1979 to 2020, with “severe or greater” turbulence – the strongest type of CAT – becoming 55% more often in the near future. North Atlantic Ocean during that time period.

“Our climate is evolving,” Buttigieg said. “Our policies, technology and infrastructure must also evolve accordingly.”

His comments come amid chaos that has wreaked havoc on some flights this year.

On Sunday, 12 people were injured after a Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Dublin encountered turbulence while flying over Türkiye. Six passengers and six crew members were injured, eight of whom were taken to hospital following assessment, Dublin Airport said in a statement. parcel on X

The plane landed shortly before 1pm local time and was responded to by emergency services – including airport police and the fire and rescue department – upon landing, the airport said in a statement. separate article on X

Serious chaos also Attack on Singapore Airlines flight last week, killing one person and injuring 30 others.

While Buttigieg called deadly chaos on a Singapore Airlines flight “very rare,” he added that “chaos can happen and sometimes it can happen unexpectedly.”

“Now, there are protocols and models for things like how pilots encountering turbulence can notify people who might be on that path,” he said. “But I think we need to continually reassess that in light of the fact that these things are happening more frequently and more severely than before.”

‘Error on reporting side’

Boeing revealed on Friday that it had seen one increased by 500% on the number of employee submissions regarding quality and safety concerns in the first two months of 2024 compared to the same period last year.

The aerospace giant noted that the increase in applications comes after a portion of Alaska Airlines 737 Max 9 aircraft exploded mid-flight on Jan. 5. The company said the increase was “a sign of progress toward a strong reporting culture.”

When asked about Boeing’s findings, Buttigieg backed up that statement, saying it was “encouraging” to see that airline employees are cultivating a culture of “if you see something, say something there”.

“We want you to make mistakes in reporting,” he said. “The worrying part, of course, is that any of those problems are happening.”

Boeing leaders are Prepare to meet with the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday to present plans to improve quality control. The agency announced in late February that it was giving the company 90 days to develop a plan.


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