Due to significant staffing and maintenance issues, hundreds of American Airlines flights have been canceled.
A total of 398 flights were canceled over a three-day period. The airline attributes the cancelations to a high number of sick calls, alongside staffing and maintenance troubles.
American Airlines told ABC News that the cancelations mostly affect A320 and 737 flights and may continue for the rest of June and all through July, as well. 50-60 flights will be grounded every day throughout June with potential for a ramp-up in July of up to 80 flights a day.
American isn’t the only airline struggling with staffing — all U.S. airlines have been affected as flights return to pre-pandemic levels after an extended low period due to travel restrictions enacted to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
Thousands of employees were offered incentives for early retirement back in March 2020 when air travel was banned in the U.S. In recent months, air travel has slowly opened up, and airlines are hard at work trying to fill these positions. Additionally, American Airlines has had to deal with staffing shortages with companies they’re in contract with, including catering and wheelchair operators.
According to an American Airlines statement: “We made targeted changes with the goal of impacting the fewest number of customers by adjusting flights in markets where we have multiple options for re-accommodation.”
The airline said it will notify its customers of cancelations well in advance and can rebook their flights through the American Airlines app.
As a temporary solution, Darby Lajoy, the acting administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, asked for volunteers to bolster staff numbers at airports for up to 45 days. Volunteers were tasked with non-screening functions and security line management.
The TSA is also looking to hire 6,000 new officers ahead of the summer travel surge, with incentives of up to $1,000.
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