American Airlines Group said it has found pilots to staff all but “a few hundred” flights during next month’s holiday season, easing concerns of major disruptions a day after a scheduling-system snag raised the possibility that as many as 15,000 would lack aviators.
The world’s largest airline hasn’t scrubbed any scheduled flights next month, spokesman Matt Miller said Thursday in an email. An unusually large number of pilots on standby during December should cover “many” of remaining trips without assigned pilots, he said.
American’s staffing update assuaged fears of widespread flight cancellations during one of the year’s busiest travel periods. The airline offered one and a half times their normal pay for pilots to take the unassigned flights. Miller declined to comment on the potential cost of the higher compensation.
The glitch caused the scheduling system to show that American had ample staffing coverage for some planned flights when it actually didn’t. The system let pilots drop some trips they had been assigned next month because it wrongly showed there were sufficient crew members willing to pick up the flights. American will operate 200,000 flights in December.
The Allied Pilots Association, a union for American’s pilots, estimated Wednesday that 15,000 flights from Dec. 17 through Dec. 31 lacked sufficient crew. The airline has declined to quantify the potential number of flights involved.
(c) 2017, Bloomberg View · Mary Schlangenstein