American Airlines, Hit by Staffing Shortages Due to Pandemic, Cancels Hundreds of Flights and Plans to Cut More Even as Customer Demand Ramps Up

Photo credit: Jeff Swensen

A lot of people want to get back in the air as the pandemic eases and American Airlines, facing pilot shortages and recent bad weather, is struggling to keep up with demand. The U.S. carrier cancelled hundreds of flights over the weekend and says that it will be cancelling hundreds more through mid-July to help minimize disruption. Before COVID-19, American was the largest airline in the world by fleet size and number of passengers carried, but sank to a full-year loss of $9.5 billion as crews were furloughed.

An American Airlines spokeswoman blamed the cancellations on labor shortages, bad weather at its main hubs, and “the incredibly quick ramp-up of customer demand.” But Dennis Tajer of the Allied Pilots Association, which represents American’s roughly 15,000 pilots, told CNBC the company had to offer more advance overtime and give pilots more flexibility to make up for staffing shortages. “They’re trying to put a Band-Aid on something that needs stitches,” he said. American is expected to cancel about 1 percent of flights, or 50-80 flights a day.

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SOURCE: The Daily Beast – Philippe Naughton

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