American Airlines and United parry flights as delays and cancellations mount

American Airlines and United parry flights as delays and cancellations mount

Airlines in the US are struggling to meet the surge in consumer demand both domestically and internationally air travel because they are faced with an acute shortage of staff, including in the cockpit.

American Airlines announced Thursday it was suspending service to four small cities in Iowa, New York and Ohio because it doesn’t have enough pilots to operate planes.

“In response to the regional pilot shortage affecting the airline industry, American Airlines has made the difficult decision to suspend service in Dubuque, Iowa, Islip and Ithaca, New York, and Toledo, Ohio,” the airline said in a statement CBS MoneyWatch.

The service change will take effect on September 7th. American Airlines said it will contact customers traveling to those destinations after the deadline to help them make alternative arrangements.

American Airlines says it has 100 regional jets that are unable to fly because their cockpits are empty. A spokesman for the airline added that it will be cutting the route in anticipation of a shortage of pilots and other crew members that will persist for the foreseeable future.

“This shortage may loom for some time, so we’re taking bold, innovative steps to address the issue head-on,” the spokesman said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch.


Nationwide flight cancellations are wreaking havoc on travelers

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Consumers got a taste of what the summer air travel season could look like over Father’s Day weekend when thousands of canceled flights At airports around the world, passengers were stranded and luggage piled up.

Aviation consultant Kit Darby said a shortage of pilots will continue to be disruptive Flights worldwide through the summer travel time and probably beyond. That’s because many pilots have retired during the pandemic and it can take years to train qualified replacements.

Due to the shortage, airlines cannot keep as many pilots or crew members on standby, resulting in more frequent service disruptions.

“Normal things like aircraft maintenance, weather, delays are felt a lot more because there are no reserved, extra pilots or flight attendants, and the chain is only as good as its weakest link,” Darby said.

Raising pilot salaries could attract more people to the profession in the long run, but it’s not a quick fix that will help smooth operations this summer.

“More money doesn’t immediately create more pilots — it only moves pilots when one company pays more than another, but it hasn’t created more pilots,” Darby said.

“Traffic Jam Challenges”

United said Thursday it was canceling 50 flights a day from Newark Liberty International Airport to reduce delays and cancellations, citing “congestion challenges” at the New Jersey facility. The cuts account for 12% of United’s flights out of Newark. The changes, which come into effect on July 1, will not end service for any of the airline’s markets.

United said that although the airline had been preparing for the summer travel surge by increasing staffing levels, following disruptions to operations in Newark, the airline applied for a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration that allows the airline to temporarily adjust its flight schedule.

In a memo distributed to United employees, Chief Operations Officer Jon Roitman said the airline has the capacity to operate its usual Newark flight schedule but is making the changes to reduce congestion and minimize delays and cancellations .

“While we have the aircraft, pilots, crew and staff to support our Newark flight schedule, this waiver will allow us to eliminate about 50 daily departures, which should help minimize excessive delays and improve on-time performance – not.” just for our customers, but for everyone flying through Newark,” he said.

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