American Airlines announced that it will be canceling hundreds of its flights this summer due in part to staffing shortages.
“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 customers’ plans,” Stacey Day, a spokeswoman for American Airlines, told The Hill.
She added, “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 by adjusting a fraction of our scheduled flying through mid-July.”
Day noted that the cancellations would mostly take place in locations that have larger airports which will allow for people to update their plans more easily.
“We made targeted changes with the goal of impacting the fewest number of customers by adjusting flights in markets where we have multiple options for re-accommodation,” she said.
The airline’s flight cancellation problems over the weekend were originally reported by The View from the Wing travel blog, which noted that the reason for the cancellations was because of a shortage of pilots.
On Saturday, the site reported: “The issue appears to be concentrated on the Boeing 737 fleet. American’s schedule seems too big for the crew they have available, especially since they’re only midway through the process of bringing inactive pilots back online.” The site added that due to government subsidies, the airline couldn’t furlough anyone, but they “didn’t keep those pilots who were staying home active and qualified to fly. And they’re not all back yet, either.”
CNBC reported high cancellation numbers for the airline:
About 6% of the airline’s mainline schedule, or 190 flights, were canceled on Sunday, according to flight-tracking site FlightAware. The airline said that equaled about 3% of its total flights, including those operated by regional carriers. An internal company list, which was viewed by CNBC, showed about half of those were because of unavailable flight crews. On Saturday, about 4% of its mainline schedule, or 123 flights, were canceled and 106 on Monday, FlightAware showed.
American said it is trimming its overall schedule by about 1% through mid-July to help ease some of the disruptions, some of which it said resulted from bad weather at its Charlotte and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport hubs during the first half of June.
Travel has significantly increased in the United States since this time last year, with over 2 million people going through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints on Sunday, and numbers breaking the 2 million mark during the weekdays last week. During the same dates in 2020, there were just over 500,000 people going through the checkpoints.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, the airline asked its own headquarters employees at Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport to volunteer for no pay during a travel surge over the summer months.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, American Airlines isn’t making its workers volunteer, but if they do give up their time, they won’t be paid for the additional effort. They also must work the extra hours when they are not carrying out their regular requirements.
They will mostly provide assistance to airline customers who need help. “The volunteers will be there to supplement full-time workers such as gate and ticketing agents, and the airline is only expecting to use the volunteers during the busiest period, from June until mid-August,” the outlet noted.
According to Business Insider reporting earlier this month, American Airlines sliced 30% of its staff, which involved firing around 1,500 people. In April, the airlines said that it “expects to fly more than 90% of its domestic seat capacity compared to summer 2019 and 80% of its international seat capacity compared to 2019.”