An American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER takes off from Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia on October 28, 2020.
Loren Elliott | Reuters
American Airlines has canceled more than 1,000 flights since Friday, disruptions attributable to staffing problems and strong winds at its busiest hub.
On Saturday, American canceled nearly 460 flights, or 17% of the main flight schedule, according to flight tracking website FlightAware. based in Dallas Southwest Airlines Cut 86 flights or 2% of Saturday operations.
American has canceled another 285 flights, or 10% of its scheduled Sunday schedule, in addition to Friday’s 340 cancellations.
American COO David Seymour said in a staff note on Saturday that the problems began Thursday with strong gusts of wind reducing capacity at its Dallas / Fort Worth international airport hub and that the crew members were not in position for their next flights was.
The availability of pilots and flight attendants was cited as the reason for most of the cancellations on Saturday and Sunday, according to internal balance sheets viewed by CNBC.
“With additional weather throughout the system, our staff is running out as the crew members leave their regular flight sequences,” wrote Seymour. He said most customers were rebooked the same day and he expects operations to stabilize in November.
Airlines have faced staff shortages that have resulted in hundreds of flight cancellations and other disruptions since travel demand soared in late spring. The airlines had convinced thousands of employees to accept voluntary takeovers or leave of absence to reduce their wage bills in the depths of the pandemic.
Now they are trying to recruit staff, hire pilots, flight attendants, ramp and customer service agents and others. Leaner staffing levels make it harder for airlines to recover from disruptions such as bad weather or technology issues.
Southwest said earlier this month that there was a meltdown earlier this month that saw more than 2,000 flights canceled it cost $ 75 million. It also said it would further cut its remaining 2021 schedule after previous cuts to avoid further disruption.
American Airlines’ Seymour said 1,800 flight attendants would be returning from vacation as of November 1, and the rest would be back by December. It also means hiring pilots, mechanics, airport staff and reservation agents “so that more team members will be on site for the holiday season”.