American Airlines canceled more than 1,600 flights this weekend due to bad weather in Texas and a shortage of flight attendants.
The problems resemble those that plagued Southwest Airlines in early October, raising questions about whether airlines can handle the high demand typical of the holiday season.
By Sunday afternoon, American had canceled more than 800 flights – 30% of its daily total – after canceling another 900 between Friday and Saturday, the specialized website FlightAware reported.
The problems began late last week, when American had to cancel flights due to high winds at its main port in Dallas / Fort Worth. This made it difficult to assign crews on subsequent flights, and the effect had an impact on air traffic on Saturday and Sunday.
“In order to guarantee the care of our clients and to be able to provide appropriate schedules to our crews, we have adjusted our operations in recent days by proactively canceling some flights,” David Seymour, the airline’s operational manager, told staff in a bulletin.
Bad weather and lack of employees condition flights
He added that the company was able to relocate most of the passengers on other flights that same day.
An American spokeswoman said the company hopes to improve the situation significantly on Monday that there may be “some residual effect” from the delays. By Sunday afternoon, American had canceled nearly 50 flights on Monday, according to FlightAware.
In early October, Southwest canceled more than 2,000 flights after suffering disruptions due to bad weather in Florida and a lack of manpower.
Airlines were prohibited from firing personnel during the pandemic, as a condition for receiving official financial assistance.
American temporarily laid off 19,000 employees last year when financial assistance ended, but was retracted once assistance was resumed. That, however, did not stop airlines from convincing thousands of employees to quit in exchange for financial incentives. American, Southwest and other airlines are currently hiring to replace the one they lost in 2020.