American Airlines cuts 1,175 flights in July, August to ease disruptions

AMERICAN Airlines Group notified flight crews that it has cancelled 1,175 flights in July and August as part of efforts to build more "buffer" into its schedule and reduce disruptions that have plagued the industry this summer.

The cuts come after the carrier this week detailed plans to trim flight capacity as much as 10 per cent this quarter and 9.5 per cent for the year from pre-pandemic levels, joining other major airlines that are revising operations amid staffing shortfalls and high costs. The flight reductions are keeping carriers from taking full advantage of a swell in demand that has pushed fares higher and produced record revenue last quarter.

American brought capacity back at a faster pace than rivals after slashing operations when the pandemic decimated travel demand. It operates an average of 5,400 daily flights. The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier didn't comment Friday (Jul 22) beyond acknowledging the near-term cancellations, which the Allied Pilots Association said affect flights as soon as Jul 27.

"This is an unusual event that close in," said Dennis Tajer, a union spokesman. "We're shocked that this is happening at this late stage" of the busy summer travel season.

The cancellations came 2 days after August work schedules were finalized, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants told members in a message. Both unions are in contract talks with the carrier.

American's shares fell 2.5 per cent at 3.10 pm Friday in New York, extending a decline after the carrier reported earnings early Thursday.

American has parked 100 aircraft at its wholly-owned regional carriers because of a pilot shortage, and cut the equivalent of another 45 jets by decreasing how much it flies some planes at the main airline operations. 

Delta Air Lines alerted its pilots in June about flying reductions for July and August, the Air Line Pilots Association said. The Atlanta-based airline has said it will hold operations at its June level for the rest of this year, with third-quarter capacity as much as 17 per cent below 2019. BLOOMBERG

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