Buttigieg Defends Rosy Air Travel Predictions: We Made ‘Ton of Progress’ on Airlines, Everyone Recovered from Storm But Southwest

On Thursday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Special Report,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg defended his prior prediction that air travel would improve by stating that there has been “a ton of progress since this summer” and that’s demonstrated by the fact that after the major winter storm, “every airline recovered except for one, Southwest Airlines.”

Host Bret Baier asked, [relevant exchange begins around 2:10] “I want to talk about what falls under you, holiday travel. In September, you were on the ‘Late Late Show’ with James Corden. And you said that you thought that this was going to get better, that it was going to get better by the holidays, and that so many people had been delayed or canceled and that the fact is the airlines needed to be ready to service the tickets that they’re selling. Why did you miss the mark so bad? Is there anything that the D.O.T. could have done differently ahead of what we saw, this debacle at the holidays?”

Buttigieg responded, “Well, let’s be clear, we’ve made a ton of progress since this summer. And the evidence of that is we had an epic storm hit the United States, and within a few days, almost all of the airlines had recovered. As a matter of fact, every airline recovered except for one, Southwest Airlines. … They failed to invest in the kind of I.T. systems that they needed and made a number of other operational mistakes.”

He added that “the airlines have made major improvements largely because we pressed them to do that.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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