KEY POINTS

  • As many as 50 to 80 flights are likely to be canceled per day 
  • People flying through July 15 will be notified if flights are affected
  • American is likely to finish training furloughed pilots by month-end

Hit by staffing shortages, weather, and other issues at some of its hubs, American Airlines has announced the cancellation of hundreds of flights for at least the next few weeks. 

As travel demand surges post-pandemic, the airline is struggling to operate services, with over 123 and 180 flights canceled on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. A report by CNBC, citing data from flight-tracking site FlightAware, said half of the cancelations were due to crew shortage. 

The airline's Dallas-Fort Worth hub is said to be most affected by the cancellations. 

"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 crewmember 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."

According to Gilson, the company is projecting 50 to 80 flight cancelations per day.

Meanwhile, The Hill reported that cancellations will be focused in areas with bigger airports with "multiple options for re-accommodation" so that the fewest number of customers are impacted. People flying American Airlines through July 15 whose flights are affected will be notified, the report added. 

According to Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, "the company should offer more overtime in advance to encourage staff to fill in as well as more flexibility in pilots’ schedules to cover staffing shortages."

"They’re trying to put a Band-Aid on something that needs stitches," Tajer, a Boeing 737 captain, told CNBC. Allied Pilots Association represents American’s roughly 15,000 pilots. 

The company spokesperson added that it is on track to finish training furloughed pilots by the end of this month. American is also offering overtime due to operational issues, CNBC quoted the spokesperson. 

Data from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration says there is a 19 percent increase in passengers in May, compared to April. Nearly 50 million airport passengers were registered last month. So far in June, the TSA has registered nearly 35 million air passengers. 

American Airlines reported another quarterly loss but said bookings from leisure travelers are increasing as vaccines become more widespread American Airlines is cancelling hundreds of flights for the next few weeks. Photo: AFP / Daniel SLIM