American Airlines cancels 1400 flights over three days

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American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) said staff shortages and bad weather caused over 1,400 flights to be cancelled in three days.

According to a statement from the airline, 376 flights were cancelled on Friday, 551 on Saturday, and 480 on Sunday.

“With additional weather throughout the system, our staffing begins to run tight as crew members end up out of their regular flight sequences,” an American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) spokesperson told Reuters.

In an internal memo seen by CNBC, American’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) David Seymour said the troubles started with bad weather at Dallas Fort Worth (DFW). 

The problem was exacerbated by the fact that the airline is facing severe crew shortages. Thousands of American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) employees were furloughed due to reduced demand. 

According to Seymour, the company aims to return 1,800 flight attendants from leave starting November 1, and bring staff numbers to full capacity by December.

Low-cost carrier Southwest faced a similar problem in early October, when thousands of flights were cancelled or delayed. It took Southwest three days to return to normal operations. 

According to the statement, American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) expects to sort out the difficulties “soon”, and to solve the understaffing issue by the start of the holiday season.

UPDATE 31-10-2021, 10:30 (UTC +3): For Sunday, October 31, 2021, American Airlines (A1G) (AAL) cancelled 850 flights. This pushed the total number of cancelled flights to over 1,700.

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