Published: Fri, December 01, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Thousands of American Airlines holiday flights without pilots

Thousands of American Airlines holiday flights without pilots

After a computer glitch that gave too many American Airlines pilots vacation time in December and put more than 15,000 holiday flights in jeopardy of cancellation, according to estimates by the Allied Pilots Association, the airline is now close to a resolution. The scheduling glitch let pilots drop scheduled flights - to take a holiday over Christmas, for example - even when there were no other pilots available for that flight.

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents employees for American Airlines, said on Wednesday that a scheduling error from the airline may affect more than 15,000 flights from December 17 to 31, according to Reuters.

Earlier this year, Ryanair, a budget airline in Ireland, cancelled close to 2,000 flights in September so its staff could take a vacation, leaving thousands of flyers without flights for their holidays. "Through their efforts, they have whittled it down to only a few hundred impacted flights out of the 200,000 flights American is expected to operate during the month of December".

American says reserve pilots will be able to fly most of the flights, and it's offering premium pay for pilots to work certain routes.

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Rather than awarding a limited amount of time off based on seniority, a system blunder allotted off days to too numerous carrier's pilots. Some nervous customers tweeted at the airline, looking for reassurance that their Christmas travel plans would not be upset.

APA represents the 15,000 pilots with American Airlines.

A company spokesman said the glitch caused the scheduling system to show that American had ample staffing coverage for some planned flights when it actually didn't, according to Bloomberg News.

The union said it has access to American's December crew assignments "in real time", and that "thousands of flights are still listed as unassigned".

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"This is certainly not routine", Tajer told the Morning News."This is a crisis right now, and in that crisis, they've gone solo".

"We remain seriously concerned about the potential for significant schedule disruption for our passengers, pilots, and fellow employees during the critical holiday travel season", the Allied Pilots Assn. said in a statement.

Rivals fared much better - Delta, United, Southwest and JetBlue all rose at least 3 per cent.

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