American Cancels Hundreds of Flights, Issues Thousands of Layoff Notices
By James Shillinglaw
September 19, 2012 11:06 PM
American Airlines it is reducing its flight schedule for the rest of September and October by up to 2 percent. The airline is blaming the cancellations on job actions by its pilots, with which it had been unable to forge a new labor agreement. Pilots reportedly are calling in sick. One report said American had already cancelled more than 270 flights on Sept. 19. For more information from American on flight cancellations, click here.
The flight cancellations also come as American, which is operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, also warned that it would be laying off thousands of employees, perhaps as many as 4,400. American reportedly had already canceled 271 flights.
American recently won a judgment from its bankruptcy court to void the contract with its pilots. The airline also announced recently that it was sending out 11,000 layoff notices to employees, as part of a previously announced cost-cutting effort, though it said it most likely would only layoff less than half those employees. Layoff notices went out to mechanics and ground workers whose jobs will be affected as American continues its bankruptcy restructuring.
Meanwhile, American continues to talk with US Airways about a potential merger. US Airways is reportedly in due diligence with American over a possible deal, but neither airline will comment on the progress of those discussions.
According to press reports, layoff notices have gone out to 3,000 workers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area (where a maintenance facility will close), 3,000 workers at a base in Tulsa, Okla., 1,200 workers in Miami, 1,100 in New York and Newark, N.J., and 900 in Chicago.
American also isn’t being helped by media coverage. The Wall Street Journal posted a story on Sept. 18 advising travelers to "avoid American Airlines" because its operations are "unreliable" and "in shambles." It noted more cancelled flights than any other airline on Sunday and Monday and a high percentage of delayed flights. On Monday, Sept. 17, 39 percent of American's flights arrived on time and 108 flights were cancelled. On Sunday, Sept. 18, 48 percent of American's flights arrived on time and 92 flights were cancelled.
American Airlines and American Eagle said they would cancel a total of 300 flights this week to cope with the missing pilots and increased maintenance reports. But according to one flight-tracking service, the airlines had already canceled 249 flights by Wednesday afternoon.