MIAMI – American Airlines (AA) has missed the rapid upsurge in travel demand, failing to call pilots and essential maintenance staff back to duty.
As a result, AA had to revert to last-minute crew shuttles between bases and to cancelations when solutions were not at hand.
According to several news outlets including ABC News, CNN, and Business Insider, the number of canceled flights stood at about 120 on Saturday, 180 on Sunday, with at least 100 cancelations are expected for today Monday, June 21. Moreover, for the rest of the month, AA is expecting to cancel around 60 flights per day, increasing to about 80 for at least the first half of July.
With the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, AA, as many other airlines, had to resort to cost-cutting measures including staff reductions, proposed early retirements, and other forms of aided departures.
The Pilot Re-training Curve
With the offset of the crisis, and the ease of travel restrictions, flights are back in the air but recalling essential staff on duty is neither an easy nor a rapid solution. This is particular for pilots, mainly flying on Boeing 737 and A320 since they require re-training before being in condition to resume active duty. The same goes for maintenance staff that is attached to a specific type of aircraft.
AA also claims that adverse weather conditions have disrupted pilots’ rotation at many important hubs. The carrier also mentioned vendor’s difficulties, such as TSA, and shortage of catering contractors or wheelchair operators staff, as facts that all contributed to the present situation.
The airline indicated that flight cancelations were done in a manner to avoid, as much as possible, inconvenience for travelers by offering them alternative travel solutions, particularly in markets where several daily flights were available.
Featured image: American Airlines Airbus 321-200 N929AA. Photo: Andrew Henderson/Airways