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Infrastructure, Housing and Development

Busy holiday airport traffic made worse by regional pilot shortage

Randol White - KCBX News

The weekend before Christmas is among the busiest airport travel days of the year with crowded flights at all Central Coast airports, including Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria, and Santa Barbara.

Friday evening, the FAA showed delays into San Francisco of more than two hours because of low clouds. Flights heading connecting through SFO from the regional airports were affected.

In addition to the weather delays, there is also a pilot shortage issue affecting Central Coast airports.

Kevin Bumen, Director of Airports for San Luis Obispo County, says a change in pilot requirements earlier this year is behind the shortage.

"It's certainly an issue that everyone is taking note of," said Bumen. "The full scope of the overall effects is yet to be fully understood, but it's something that everyone in the industry is watching right now."

Lynn Houston is the spokesperson for the Santa Barbara Airport. She says the pilot shortage isn't just affecting the Central Coast, but is a nationwide problem.