About 1%, or 31 flights per day, will be canceled, American Airlines says
American extends capacity cuts through mid-November
The airline is struggling with chronic delays and labor issues
American Airlines will cancel more flights from its daily schedule through mid-November.
“American Airlines is extending its previously announced schedule reductions through the first half of November by approximately 1%,” said American spokesman Matt Miller in a statement. “Although we are beginning to see improvements in our operations, we are taking this proactive step to allow us to get our performance back to the levels our customers deserve and expect.”
The new cuts of about 31 flights per day out of the airline’s total network of 3,500 daily flights will not affect holiday travel, Miller said. Previously, the airline announced an up to 2% reduction in the number of seat sales through the end of October.
The airline declared bankruptcy last year and has been mired in contract negotiations with unions. Airline executives convinced a bankruptcy judge to throw out the pilots’ contract last month.
In the past month, more than 1,000 American flights have been canceled and 12,000 delayed.
Some travel agents and business travelers have told CNN they can’t count on American flights to take off or – when they do take off, to land on time. Some American customers are starting to book flights on other airlines.
Airline management blamed the situation on pilots filing what it claims are frivolous reports about aircraft problems as part of a slowdown. The pilots’ union denied management’s assertion, arguing that company mismanagement has led to increased maintenance problems.
“These mechanical items are all of American management’s making,” American Airlines Capt. Carl Jackson, a representative of the Allied Pilots Association, told CNN on Thursday as several dozen American pilots conducted an informational picket at Washington’s Reagan National Airport.
“They have old planes,” Jackson said. “They have a shortage of mechanics, here in the near term it’s going to be a severe shortage of mechanics, and we’re just trying to do the best we can to get the public safely to where they need to be.”
The airline also faced questions about its maintenance after seats on three American Airlines flights have come loose in flight, requiring the airline to fix floor mounts in 48 of its 757s to prevent seats from coming loose again.
Although American management and pilots resumed negotiations last week, the three major American employee unions have already reached conditional agreement with US Airways, should a merger of the two airlines take place.