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Saturday, October 1, 2022

American Airlines cancels more than 1,000 flights over Halloween weekend

American Airlines has canceled more than 1,000 flights since Friday, according to the flight-tracking site FlightAware.

The flight cancellations have occurred in part due to staffing shortages, according to internal tallies obtained by CNBC.

High wind gusts around the airline’s busy Dallas/Fort Worth hub were also blamed; a memo sent to American Airlines employees on Saturday by COO David Seymour noted that the winds  prevented crew members them from reaching flights they were scheduled to work, according to CNBC.

FlightAware shows that more than 500 of the flights canceled were on Saturday. American Airlines has already canceled 285 flights scheduled for Sunday as well, citing staffing shortages.

“With additional weather throughout the system, our staffing begins to run tight as crew members end up out of their regular flight sequences,” Seymour said in his memo, according to CNBC.

Most of the passengers whose flights were canceled were able to secure replacement flight on the same day, he noted. 

He said operations should become more stable in November, as 1,800 flight attendants will be coming back to work.

Due to the decline in travel during the pandemic, airlines have had to cut many employees in order to make up for lost revenue. 

The resulting staffing shortages, as well as weather and other issues, have led airlines to cancel flights in large numbers recently. Earlier this month, Southwest Airlines canceled nearly 2,000 flights in a two-day period and a regional airline carrier that operates flights for airlines including Delta and American had to cancel hundreds of flights because of a technical issue.

Vaccine mandates implemented by airlines have also given rise to staffing concerns. The Allied Pilots Association, a labor union representing thousands of American Airlines pilots, has told pilots not to let looming vaccine deadlines distract them in the cockpit.

“The latest hazard we face may be the hardest, regardless of your personal views concerning the vaccine mandate. We are seeing distractions in the flight deck that can create dangerous situations,” the union said in a memo. 

“We must eliminate distractions in the flight deck to ensure that we continue to operate at the highest levels of safety,” it added.


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