COLUMBIA - Airlines around the country have seen an increase in staff shortages and more delays and cancellations.
The Columbia Regional Airport (COU) has had several flights in the past few months either delayed or canceled. The airport is currently expanding one of the runways as well as building a new terminal.
An American Airlines representative told KOMU 8 there were five scheduled departures at COU Wednesday and three of them were canceled due to weather conditions.
The main carriers at COU are United and American Airlines.
This issue has been a national problem as the demand for air travel is returning to pre-pandemic levels and as COVID-19 travel restrictions loosen.
On Monday, St. Louis-Lambert International Airport saw cancellations and delays, most notably with Southwest Airlines with six cancellations.
COU used to have flights to Denver, Chicago, and Dallas, but now the airport's routes are only Chicago O'Hare and Dallas-Ft. Worth.
Nick Chabarria, a public affairs specialist with AAA in St. Louis, says travel has picked up across the country and the demand for air travel is high.
"Demand is currently outweighing supply. As vaccines have rolled out, people are traveling in large numbers and now a lot of companies are having trouble keeping up with the demand," Chabarria said.
Chabarria says many of the delays in travel are centered around staffing issues.
"This is across the board where it is a combination of staffing and demand," Chabarria said.
Rental car companies have also had trouble meeting demand with the increase of travel and with the national microchip shortage.
Chabarria says the delays also can be contributed to the airline schedules.
"Whether it is a small or large airport, we are seeing these flight cancellations across the board. It is a reminder for folks to pack your patience and when you book your flights to have enough time to connect to other flights," Chabarria said.
Travel agents recommend booking rental cars before purchasing airline tickets with travel demand up.
According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, COU has had 152 delays and 30 cancellations this year for departures. In 2020, there were 91 departure delays and 120 canceled flights.
For arrivals, the number of delays in 2021 is 156 and the number of cancellations is 29. In 2020. the number of arrival delays was 102 and the number of cancellations was 116 flights.