American Airlines he said he canceled hundreds of flights over the weekend due to a lack of staff, maintenance and other problems, challenges facing the airline as demand for routes rises to pre-pandemic levels.
About 6% of the airline’s scheduled flights, or 190 flights, were canceled on Sunday, according to the FlightAware flight tracking website. The airline said that it is about 3% of the total flights, including those performed by regional carriers. An internal list of companies, reviewed by CNBC, found that about half of them were due to unavailable flight crews. About 4% of the main timetable was canceled on Saturday, or 123 flights, and 106 on Monday, FlightAware showed.
The American said he is reducing his overall schedule by about 1% by mid-July to help alleviate some disruption, some of which is the result of bad weather at the hubs of Charlotte, North Carolina and Dallas / Fort Worth international airports during the first half of June. The planned cuts amount to about 950 flights in the first half of next month.
Airlines are trying to track governments as they increase demand for air travel lift pandemic restrictions and allow more attractions to open from concerts to restaurants to theme parks, after spending most of the past year trying to reduce staff. Some returning passengers complained about the long-term retention of customer service.
The American said that hundreds of customer service agents are in the process of being hired after approximately a quarter of their customer service agents took voluntary leave or ransom. Delta Air Lines is in the process of hiring about 1,300 people for these positions, spokesman Morgan Durrant said. Both carriers said they are addressing people who have taken leaves or ransom to cover demand.
The Transportation Safety Authority said it screened more than 2.1 million people on Sunday, the most since March 7, 2020, but 23% below the 2.7 million people screened two years ago, months before Covid pandemic started.
U.S. stocks rose about 0.7% in afternoon trading on Monday, less than most competitors.
“Bad weather, combined with the shortage of manpower that some of our suppliers are struggling with and the incredibly rapid rise in customer demand, has led us to add resilience and security to our work by adjusting part of the planned mid-July flight,” an American Airlines spokeswoman said. Sarah Jantz. “We’ve made targeted changes to impact the least number of customers by adjusting flights to markets where we have more re-accommodation options.”
Bad weather has affected the flight crew’s ability to arrive on assigned flights and storms, and other times could mean crews may fall outside of working hours that the federal allows them to work, a spokeswoman said.
Dennis Thayer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, which represents approximately 15,000 U.S. pilots, said the company should offer more overtime hours in advance to encourage staffing to fill, as well as greater flexibility in pilot schedules to cover staff shortages.
“They’re trying to put a band-aid on something that needs stitches,” said Thayer, who is also the captain of a Boeing 737.
America is also racing to train all the pilots it has made between the two federal relief packages that banned layoffs, as well as its aviators who should be in regular periodic training. Jantz said the American is on track to complete pilot training with a laugh by the end of this month, adding that the company is offering overtime work due to its operational problems.
The airline is not the only carrier whose work is hampered by a lack of staff. Delta canceled more than 300 flights last weekend for Thanksgiving and numerous others over Christmas due lack of pilots.
The weekend disruptions, previously reported by View from Wing’s blog, come at a time when carriers are trying to catch a sharp rise in travel demand and result in record losses. In a report earlier this month, American said it expects its capacity to fall by 20% in the second quarter to 25% from 2019, while United Airlines it is estimated to fly about 46% less and Delta predict a drop of 32% compared to 2019. In the meantime, Southwest Airlines predict that its capacity in July will be only 3% compared to 2019, compared to a decline of 7% this month.