American Airlines canceled more than 1,200 flights this weekend, blamed for widespread disruption by bad weather and a shortage of staff. The cancellations accounted for more than 12 percent of the airline’s scheduled flights for Saturday and Sunday, he said, and happened just weeks after Southwest Airlines was forced to cancel nearly 2,000 flights.
Strong winds late last week hampered operations at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the largest U.S. hub, reduced runway capacity and caused a series of failures, David Seymour, the airline’s chief operating officer, told staff in a statement Saturday. This disruption, along with bad weather elsewhere in its network, stuck U.S. air crews in the wrong places, hampering the airline as it went on a typically busy weekend.
“To ensure that we take care of our customers and ensure the safety of the schedule for our crews, we have adjusted our performance the last few days of this month by proactively canceling some flights,” Mr. Seymour. “We are taking this measure to minimize any inconvenience. Most customers affected by these changes book again the same day, and we apologize for having to make these changes.
Airlines have been facing short but significant disruptions since the spring, as the revival of travel collided with ambitious but tight flight schedules, bad weather and limited staff, after tens of thousands of workers accepted buyout or early retirement packages during the pandemic. Earlier this month, Southwest canceled hundreds of flights and also blamed the bad weather, which similarly displaced his crews.
The recovery in travel has brought “a lot of blows to the operation,” said Gary Kelly, Southwest’s chief executive, this month on a call with analysts and investors from investors. “The first one would admit that things are messy,” he said.
The American faced similar challenges. But Mr Seymour said in his note that the airline was confident it was ready for the grueling holiday season, as nearly 1,800 flight attendants returned from leave due to the pandemic on Monday, and even more returned on December 1st. The airline also employs flight attendants, pilots and aircraft maintenance technicians as it prepares for the expected return of passenger travel to pre-pandemic levels next year.