Friday, 15 December, 2017

Hundreds of American Air flights still lack pilots in December

American Airlines reported a dip in second-quarter profits but offered a positive outlook Glitch by the world's biggest airline could see 15000 festive flights grounded
Juana Turner | 01 December, 2017, 06:12

A computer glitch allowed an excessive number of vacations to be scheduled, creating a potential pilot shortage for what is expected to be one of the busiest holidays in years for the airline industry.

But the union that represents American Airlines' pilots disputes the airline's calculations, saying "thousands of flights are still listed as unassigned". The numbers had not changed much from previous days, said union spokesman Dennis Tajer.

American, the world's largest airline has not scrubbed any scheduled flights next month, spokesman Matt Miller said in an email on Thursday.

American has not yet cancelled any flights for December, and believes it can avoid doing so. The airline now offers daily flights from the Rochester International Airport to Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

American has a tense relationship with its pilots union.

The scheduling problem, which American described as an isolated incident, could affect flights at around a dozen airports, including the carrier's primary hub at Dallas-Fort Worth, as well as airports in Boston, Charlotte, Miami, New York, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City. "The system went from responsibly scheduling everybody to becoming Santa Claus to everyone".

If travelers have flights booked with the airline within the December 17 -31 time frame, they should reach out to American for information. The computer said, Hey ya'll.

"We are working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season".

"We will work with the (union) to take care of our pilots and ensure we get our customers to where they need to go over the holidays". Now, the company says the number of flights with pilot staffing issues has been slashed to just a "few hundred" and continues to drop. The union added: "By not including APA in developing collaborative solutions to this critical holiday scheduling failure, management's actions contrast with their handling of previous scheduling failures involving other work groups". As a result, thousands of flights now do not have pilots assigned to fly them during the upcoming critical holiday period. The contract means they can not offer any more overtime pay.

In my opinion, the APA should not be The Grinch Who Stole Christmas (or who stole the pilots) and allow American Airlines to "pony up" the promised cash for the pilots. "And we don't want to see that happening for our passengers", Tajer said.

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