Tech Glitch Leaves Some American Airlines Flights Without Pilots During Holiday Season


Officials at American Airlines are scrambling after a computer glitch left thousands of flights during Christmas week without pilots.

“This is certainly not routine,” said Cpt. Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, which represents 15,000 American pilots. “This is a crisis right now and in that crisis @AmericanAir has gone solo.”

The “solo” in Tajer’s statement refers to American’s efforts to encourage pilots to change their schedules and return to work at a higher level of pay – a decision that was made without consulting APA.

A statement on APA’s website said that the union became aware of the scheduling issues late last week.

“On Friday, management disclosed a failure within the pilot schedule bidding system. As a result, thousands of flights currently do not have pilots assigned to fly them during the upcoming critical holiday period.

“Because management unilaterally created their solution in violation of the contract, neither APA nor the contract can guarantee the promised payment of the premium being offered.

“Important to note: By not including APA in developing collaborative solutions to this critical holiday scheduling failure, management’s actions contrast with their handling of previous scheduling failures involving other work groups. This stands in direct opposition to the company mantra of ‘Validating the Trust’ and the stated goal of making culture a competitive advantage. Management’s actions likewise jeopardize any collaborative effort to ensure our passengers have a pilot crew to take them to their important holiday events.”

Officials with American declined to say how many flights could be affected, but Tajer told Bloomberg News that more than 15,000 flights scheduled between Dec. 17 through Dec. 31, could be affected.

Affected flights originate from American’s largest hub at Dallas-Fort Worth International and airports in Boston, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City and Charlotte, according to a company memo sent to the union, which was seen by Bloomberg News.

(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Lori Aratani



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