American Airlines canceled hundreds of flights over the weekend, with additional disruptions expected this week, marking the latest setback for an industry trying to survive as travel demand rises from the COVID-19 shutoffs.
On Sunday, American Airlines postponed 180 flights, or approximately 6% of its operations while 543 flights were delayed.
There were 123 flight cancellations and 591 delays last Saturday. The airline has already canceled 97 Monday flights and 54 Tuesday flights.
American Airlines will cancel 2,500 more flights till the end of July
The situation this weekend was exacerbated by the airlines' sick staff. Like other airline companies, American Airlines is still recovering from the effects of the pandemic and has a narrow margin for error. American Airlines, the world's largest fleet, and passenger airlines contributed to about one-fourth of this loss and dropped to a net of $9.5 billion, as per Daily Mail. After COVID-19 shuttered air travel in March 2020, thousands of employees were let go through early retirements and buyouts. With demand now returning to pre-pandemic levels, airlines haven't been able to fill those positions as rapidly as they would like.
The majority of cancellations are on A320 and 737 flights, according to an American spokesperson. They predicted that the firm would cancel 50 to 60 flights per day fo the rest of June and 50 to 80 flights per day through the end of July, totaling 2,500 flights.
The cancellations are being made to meet an unexpected increase in travel demand as the rate of COVID-19 cases declines and health restrictions are loosened. American Airlines' spokeswoman Stacey Day said, "The first few weeks of June have brought unprecedented weather to our largest hubs, heavily impacting our operations and causing delays, canceled flights, and disruptions to crewmember schedules and our customers' plans," The Sun reported.
The cancelations will allow the airline to guarantee that customers and team members are well taken care of, added the spokeswoman. The airline stated that its cancellations were made to affect the lowest number of passengers possible by modifying flights in locations where re-accommodation alternatives are available.
Customers who have flights scheduled until July 15 will be contacted in advance if their flights are canceled, allowing them to make alternate plans ahead of time, as per Day.
The circumstances of cancellation
In the first half of July, the number of scheduled flights was relatively small, representing around 1% of the total flights planned, the company said. With the cancellation of over 950 flights, it is apparent that it is difficult for airlines to adjust following a year of dwindling demand.
These adjustments also show how firms are striving to adapt to the normal post-pandemic phase since the demand is increasing pressure on travel and car rental companies. An American Airline executive claimed that the airline is attempting to prevent a repetition of 2019 when severe weather and a conflict with the airline's mechanics flared out.
Per MarketWatch, some of American Airlines' major hubs that create delays and cancellations have been affected by storms this month. The US CEO added that although many passengers can still reach their destinations that very day, some may be transferred sooner or later to flights in a different hub.
Concerns about pilot shortages, staff sickness, and maintenance problems angered a number of passengers. When 303 flights were canceled throughout the weekend, some of them vented their dissatisfaction on social media.
American Airlines rebounded considerably faster than the other big airlines, which could be attributed to the consistent drop in COVID-19 cases and the implementation of more lenient quarantine regulations. This unexpected increase in demand has surprised carriers.