Feds Probing Comair, US Air Snafus

The federal government is investigating holiday flight cancellations at the airlines.
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The flight cancellations at Comair that disrupted travelers' holiday journeys over the weekend have grabbed the attention of the federal government.

Late Monday, Norman Mineta, the U.S. transportation secretary, said he has ordered an investigation into the disruptions at Comair, a regional carrier wholly owned by

Delta Air Lines

(DAL) - Get Report

. Comair canceled all flights Saturday after severe weather stressed its infrastructure and its computer system for flight-crew scheduling crashed.

The investigation will also look at problems at

US Airways

(UAIRQ.OB)

, which canceled flights and lost passenger luggage partly because of winter storms in the Midwest. Management and workers are also blaming each other for having an insufficient number of employees on the job.

"It is important that the department and the traveling public understand what happened, why it happened, and whether the carriers properly planned for the holiday travel period and responded appropriately to consumer needs in the aftermath," Mineta said in a statement.

Mineta said he was asking the Department of Transportation's inspector general to work with its Office of Aviation and International Affairs and its Office of General Counsel on the investigation.

Comair resumed operations on a limited basis Sunday. The airline said it aims to operate a full schedule of 1,160 flights to 119 cities by Wednesday.

The regional carrier also said it would cooperate with the investigation. "Comair looks forward to sharing with the Department of Transportation and its inspector general what we have learned from this chain of events as we work together to help avoid situations like this in the future," said Randy Rademacher, Comair's president.

Delta shares were up 13 cents, or 1.7%, at $7.55. US Airways was off 4 cents, or 3.2%, at $1.22.