DALLAS – Due to a pilot shortage, hundreds of Alaska Airlines (AS) flights were canceled at Sea-Tac International Airport (SEA) this morning, officials said. As of noon Friday, there were 75 flights canceled out of SEA, 66 of them operated by AS, according to FlightAware.
By 9 am, the carrier had canceled over 120 flights, or around 9% of its total operations, according to FOX 13 News. More than 15,000 passengers are affected. It’s probable that more cancellations will occur during the weekend, as AS officials told the news outlet that the flight cancelations were “connected to a shortage of pilots, which has created operational challenges.”
At the time of this writing, AS pilots affiliated with the Air Lines Pilots Association (ALPA) are protesting across the country, including in Seattle, over contract negotiations.
The pilots have been in contract negotiations for over three years, according to organizers. In comparison to United Airlines (UA), Delta Air Lines (DL), and American Airlines (AA) pilots, they claim they are underpaid and overworked. Their goal is to obtain a contract that is comparable to that of their colleagues.
The group planned to picket from noon to 2 pm at the Hilton near SEA.
Comments from ALPA
“Alaska Airlines received a US$2.3bn bailout from American taxpayers during the pandemic to weather the economic downturn, retain its workforce, and be ready to take advantage of the recovery we are now experiencing. It has one of the strongest balance sheets with industry-leading profit margins and came out of the pandemic with less net debt than before it,” the union said.
“Yet, despite all of this, Alaska Airlines failed to properly plan for increased travel demand and take the steps necessary to ensure it attracted and retained pilots. In fact, just this week, ALPA met with two corporate vice presidents who made clear that they have failed to adequately retain and staff up to meet a predictable return to flying.”
Featured image: Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 Aircraft. Photo: Brandon Farris/Airways