Written by: Leonard Parker | Houston Business News | 01st November
DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines struggled to fix its operation but still canceled more than 350 flights on Monday as disruptions caused by staffing shortages at the big carrier continued for a fourth straight day.
Monday's performance was an improvement over Sunday, when American scrubbed more than 1,000 flights — more than one-third of its schedule — according to tracking service FlightAware.
Like other airlines, American encouraged thousands of workers to quit last year when air travel collapsed during the pandemic, only to be caught short-staffed this year when travel recovered faster than expected.
“Flight attendant staffing at American remains strained and reflects what is happening across the industry as we continue to deal with pandemic-related issues," said Paul Hartshorn Jr., a spokesman for the union representing American's flight attendants.
Flight attendants said many reached their maximum allowable hours for October during the final days of the month, leaving many flights without cabin crews. About two-thirds of American’s cancellations Sunday were due to a lack of flight attendants, with most of the rest due to pilot shortages, according to internal airline figures.
American’s troubles started Thursday and Friday, when high winds reduced flights at its busiest hub, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. American was unable to get pilots and flight attendants in position for upcoming flights, leading to about 1,900 cancellations nationwide from Friday through Sunday, according to FlightAware.
David Seymour, the airline’s chief operating officer, said over the weekend that help was on the way. He said about 1,800 flight attendants are coming back from leave starting Monday, and more are being hired by year-end. The airline is also hiring pilots and reservations agents, he said.