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American Airlines canceled hundreds of flights because of the staffing crunch, maintenance issues

American Airlines canceled hundreds of flights

June 22, 2021: -American Airlines said it canceled hundreds of flights this weekend because of the staffing shortages, maintenance, and other issues, challenges facing the carrier as travel demand increases toward pre-pandemic levels.

According to flight-tracking site FlightAware, about 6% of the airline’s mainline schedule, or 180 flights, were canceled on Sunday. The airline said that it equaled about 3% of its total flights, including those operated by regional carriers. Nearly half of those were unavailable flight crews and showed a company list, which CNBC viewed. On Saturday, nearly 4%, or 123 flights, were canceled, the site offered.

American said it is trimming its schedule by nearly 1% through mid-July to help lift some of the disruptions, a few of which it said resulted from bad weather at its Charlotte and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport hubs in the first half of June.

“The lousy weather, combined with the labor shortages some of our vendors are contending with and the rapid ramp-up of the demand of the customers, has led us to build in additional resilience and certainty to our operation by adjusting a fraction of our scheduled flying through mid-July,” said American Airlines spokeswoman Sarah Jantz. “We made targeted changes to impact the fewest number of customers by adjusting flights in markets where we have multiple options for re-accommodation,” she added.

Lousy weather has impacted flight crews’ ability to get to assigned flights, and stormy weather can mean that units can fall outside of the hours they are federally allowed to work, the spokeswoman said.

Dennis Tajer, the spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, which represents American’s 15,000 pilots, said the company should offer overtime in advance, which will encourage the staff to fill in and more flexibility in pilots’ schedules to fill the staffing shortages.

“They’re trying to put a Band-Aid on something that needs stitches,” said Tajer, also a Boeing 737 captain.

American is even racing to train all of the pilots it furloughed in between two federal aid packages that prohibited layoffs and its aviators who are due for periodic recurrent training. Jantz said American is on track to finish training furloughed pilots by the end of this month and added the company is offering over time because of its operational issues.

Delta Air Lines canceled above 300 flights last Thanksgiving weekend and scores of others in the Christmas during a pilot shortage.

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