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American Airlines canceled more than 400 flights on Monday, marking 4 days in a row that the airline announced disruptions due to staffing shortages and weather problems.
The airline accounted for more than half of all canceled flights for the day in the U.S., The Associated Press reported. By the afternoon, another 500 of its flights were running late.
Monday’s operations showed an improvement over Sunday, when American canceled more than 1,000 flights, or about a third of its schedule.
Flight issues began on Thursday, when high winds and weather issues cut runway capacity at American’s busiest hub — Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the AP reported. That created a domino effect, and the airline couldn’t line up pilots and flight attendants for upcoming flights. Overall, the airline canceled more than 2,000 flights from Friday through Monday.
About two-thirds of Sunday’s cancellations were due to a shortage of flight attendants, and the remaining cancellations were over a shortage of pilots, according to internal figures reviewed by AP.
Many flight attendants said they reached their maximum allowed hours for October during the last few days of the month, the AP reported, leaving flights without cabin crews.
“Flight attendant staffing at American remains strained and reflects what is happening across the industry as we continue to deal with pandemic-related issues,” Paul Hartshorn Jr., a spokesman for the union that represents American’s flight attendants, told the AP.
The airline announced during the weekend that the situation would soon improve, according to The Washington Post . More than 1,800 flight attendants returned from leave starting Monday, and about 4,000 new employees are expected to join the company by the end of the year, including pilots and reservations agents.
But the delays have prompted concerns about the upcoming holiday travel season. Airlines are adding international flights as travel restrictions lift on Nov. 8 for vaccinated passengers, and they are racing to meet the Biden administration’s Dec. 8 deadline for federal contractors to get their employees vaccinated.
American isn’t the only air carrier that has struggled with recent operational issues, the newspaper reported. Southwest Airlines canceled more than 2,000 flights in mid-October due to weather issues and staffing shortages. Spirit Airlines also canceled flights in August.
The Associated Press: “American plagued by major flight cancellations for 4th day.”
The Associated Press: “American Airlines cancels hundreds of weekend flights.”
The Washington Post: “American Airlines cancels hundreds more flights as it tries to recover from weekend.”
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