Bankrupt American Airlines and regional subsidiary American Eagle plan to cancel a total of 300 flights this week as management prepares to unilaterally impose contract concessions on its mainline pilots. Represented by the Allied Pilots Association, the pilots have submitted far more maintenance “write ups” and have called out sick at a much higher rate than usual in an apparent work action to disrupt the airline’s operations.
“We are constantly evaluating our schedule based on operational and staffing resources, as well as seasonal demand, making adjustments when necessary,” a company spokesperson told AIN. “The schedule adjustments we are implementing will ensure we provide our customers with reliable service while minimizing any impact to their travel plans.”
The spokesperson said that American plans to cut its capacity by between 1 and 2 percent for the rest of September and all of October, “due to a number of factors, including an increase in maintenance reports filed by our flight crews and an increase in pilot sick [days].”
“To put it in some sort of context, for the week of Sept. 17, the company has proactively cancelled approximately 300 flights out of the nearly 24,000 departures planned across our network,” she added. “This accounts for both American and American Eagle flights, and represents about 1.25 percent of our flights this week.”
The trend toward more flight cancellations at American began early this month, after pilots rejected management’s final contract offer and a bankruptcy judge issued court approval for the airline to void the current contract. American Eagle’s Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) bargaining unit recently approved a tentative contract offer from management. It plans to hold a ratification vote after it finishes a series of “road shows” over the coming weeks.
According to the company spokeswoman, American Eagle pilots have not participated in the work action. However, Eagle provides connecting service for many of the mainline flights American has canceled.