American Airlines solves pilot shortage glitch at a price
American Airlines announces that it has solved the problem of pilot shortage during the holiday period. The airline offered to pay 200% of the usual wage rate for those employees, willing to take up the understaffed flights, which are estimated to cause the company approximately $10 million.
American Airlines issued a statement, claiming that it has solved “some concern as to whether our flights over the December holidays would have adequate pilot staffing”. After the scheduling error became known, American offered extra pay to pilots willing to take up the flights. The initial offer of 150% was increased to 200% in the final deal. Although the real cost of the mix up is unknown, the media accounts that this deal might cost American around $10 million.
“We are pleased to report that together, American and the Allied Pilots Association have put that worry to rest to make sure our flights will operate as scheduled”, said the statement by American Airlines. “By working together, we can assure customers that among the many stresses of the season, worrying about a canceled flight won’t be one of them. In short, if Santa is flying, so is American. Much appreciation to APA President Capt. Dan Carey and our 15,000 professional aviators who are doing their part to cover the holiday schedule and beyond”.
American Airlines is working to repair its complicated employer-employee relations, but this is coming at a high price, Bloomberg reports. The latest agreement, together with mid-contract pay increases announced in April 2017 and 22% wage increases to mechanics, bag handlers and others announced in 2016, puts estimations of the airline’s expenses related to employee relations at over $1 billion.
In November 2017, a software glitch of American Airlines left thousands December 2017 flights without assigned pilots during the holiday period. Too many time off was given for pilots between December 17 and 31 because of an error, which caused the scheduling system to show sufficient staffing coverage for planned flights. As a result, over 15,000 flights were left without pilots.