American Airlines is having some turbulence trying to keep up with the pent up post-COVID-19 travel demand as it plans on cancelling hundreds of flights through mid-July.
Travel is returning to its pre-pandemic levels as people are getting back into the groove of a something resembling normalcy. Airlines are looking to cash in on travel after heavy losses from the pandemic. Unfortunately, it’s hard to keep up with demand. As CNBC reports, American Airlines is cutting hundreds of flights from its schedule as it deals with the headwind of a labor shortage, maintenance and even routinely bad weather.
This weekend was a rough one as unavailable flight crews were cited as the reason about half of about 303 flights were cancelled, from CNBC:
About 6% of the airline’s mainline schedule, or 180 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. About half of those were because of unavailable flight crews, showed a company list, which was viewed by CNBC. On Saturday, about 4%, or 123 flights, were canceled, the site showed.
The airline is trying to fill in the gaps by retraining all of the pilots that it furloughed during the pandemic and offering some overtime.
If a labor shortage wasn’t hard enough, American says it’s also dealing with a headwind of maintenance and as CNN Business reports, what it says is unprecedented bad weather.
“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,” Shannon Gilson, a spokesperson for the airline, told CNN. “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.”
The airline can’t get pilots to their flights and waiting on the bad weather can run the clock out on the number of hours pilots are allowed to work. The airline expects to cancel 50 to 80 flights a day until conditions improve.
Thankfully, while hundreds of canceled flights does sound terrible, it’ll only add up to about one percent of American’s total flights. The airline will also spread the cancellations out so they’re not all piled up in isolated areas.