American Airlines canceled hundreds of flights this weekend and plans to cut more through at least mid-July due to bad weather and staffing shortages, multiple reports said.
The shortage of flights come as demand is increasing heavily in the United States with reducing coronavirus cases benefited mainly by increased vaccination.
The airline canceled more than 200 flights over the weekend, including around 120 cancellations on Saturday. Going forward, the company is reportedly projecting to cancel 50 to 60 flights a day for the rest of June and 50 to 80 flight cancellations per day in July.
The cancellations are expected to be spread throughout its system, to minimize impact in a single area. Meanwhile, bigger effect is expected in American Airlines’ Dallas-Fort Worth hub.
Customers who had been booked through July 15 were already notified or will be notified if their flights have been canceled, enabling them to make travel adjustments in advance and can rebook on the American Airlines app.
CNN quoted American Airlines’ spokesperson Shannon Gilson as saying, “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.”
Labor shortages at some of its vendors are also affecting the company.
Staffing shortage is a major issue faced by all airlines. Thousands of employees were laid off or furloughed in March last year amid travel restrictions due to coronavirus pandemic. American Airlines in a filing in March this year had stated that it would send notices to around 13,000 U.S.- based employees regarding possible furloughs, including 1,850 pilots.
Meanwhile, the company in April said it plans to resume hiring pilots this year to meet a rebound in travel demand in the summer season. The airline is expected to add 300 pilots by the end of the year and double that in 2022.
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