The airline’s CEO is preparing travelers for more disruptions

An airline CEO is warning travelers that other airlines will not be able to handle all the flights they plan to operate this year.

This will lead to more unrest.

United Airlines President Scott Kirby It said airlines operating as if this were 2019, before the pandemic, are bound to struggle.

According to Kirby, the industry suffers from a shortage of pilots and other workers, outdated technology and pressure on the FAA.

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Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, and Executive Vice President John Laughter of Delta Airlines testify before the Senate committee hearing. (Chip Somodevil/Pool via Reuters/Reuters Photo)

“The system simply can’t handle the volume today, let alone the projected growth,” Kirby said. “There are a number of airlines that can’t fly their schedules. The customers are the ones who pay the price.”

Kirby used the troubles Southwest Airlines had over the holidays without naming the carrier by name.

Southwest had to rub Nearly 17,000 flights took off in late December after a winter storm upended the schedule and overwhelmed the airline’s crew scheduling system.

“What happened over the holiday wasn’t a one-time event caused by the weather, and it wasn’t just on one airline,” he said. Alaska, Spirit and Frontier also had double percentages of canceled flights in late December.

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Kirby made these statements during company meetings Fourth quarter earnings call With analysts and reporters.

Kirby pointed to the investment his company has made in technology, has more staff per flight than before the pandemic, keeps more spare planes and doesn’t push the schedule as much.

United Airlines

United Airlines planes parked at the gates of Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, NJ ((AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)/AP Newsroom)

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However, these steps have raised the cost of flying a mile, not counting fuel, by about 15% above the 2019 level.

After the stock market closed Tuesday, Chicago-based United reported a profit of $843 million for the fourth quarter and predicted that its 2023 earnings would easily beat Wall Street expectations.

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UAL United Airlines Holdings 48.86 -2.34 -4.57%

Shares of United Airlines Holdings Group Inc. 4.6% on Wednesday and another 1% in extended trade.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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