Staffing shortfalls force American to cut back schedule

Staffing shortfalls are causing American Airlines to cancel flights as it pares back its schedule through mid-July.

The Dallas-based carrier canceled approximately 150 flights on Saturday, it said, then canceled 188 flights on Sunday, according to Flight Aware. 

American said many of those cancellations were caused by weather. On Sunday night, for example, bad weather marred American’s operations at its Chicago O’Hare and Miami hubs. 

Still, the carrier acknowledges that staffing problems, caused by the quick, recent ramp-up of passenger demand, have also forced cancellations. For example, of those 150 cancellations Saturday, said spokeswoman Andrea Koos, approximately 90 were done in advance as the carrier builds more leeway into its schedule. Overall, American is reducing its schedule through mid-July by approximately 1%.

Related: American Airlines says fares rising fast

“The first few weeks of June have brought unprecedented weather to our largest hubs, heavily impacting our operation and causing delays, canceled flights and disruptions to crew member schedules and our customer’s plans. That, combined with the labor shortages some of our vendors are contending with and the incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand, has led us to build in additional resilience and certainty to our operation,” the carrier said. 

American said it is adjusting flights in markets where it has multiple options for reaccommodation with the goal of impacting the fewest number of customers.

One staffing challenge for the airline has been the need to complete retraining of pilots who were on leave during the heart of the Covid-19 pandemic. American expects to finish that process by the end of the month. 

But Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines pilots, said the company could do more.

American, said Tajer, should offer more overtime in advance to encourage staff to fill in scheduling gaps as well as more flexibility in pilots’ schedules to cover staffing shortages.

Source: Read Full Article