January 30, 2023

An American Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner approaches landing at Miami International Airport on December 10, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

Joe Riddell | Getty Images

Their union said Saturday that a glitch in a scheduling platform allowed American Airlines pilots to abandon thousands of flights in July last night, a headache for the airline as it tries to reduce flight disruptions during the booming travel season.

More than 12,000 flights in July lacked a captain, first officer, or both, after pilots dropped missions, according to the Allied Pilots Association.

Pilots can routinely drop or pick up flights, but it’s hard to get summer vacation or vacations for airline employees as schedules are peaking to meet strong demand. The American did not immediately say whether cancellations were possible.

On Saturday alone, Americans had more than 3,000 major flights scheduled and were 93% full, according to an internal count. However, flights that are left without employees are an additional burden for any airline.

The glitch occurred during a rough start on the Fourth of July weekend when thunderstorms and employment issues caused thousands of US flight delays and hundreds of cancellations.

The American Pilots’ Guild and the Airmen’s Union, whose relationship has been fraught, are in the middle of contract negotiations and the airline recently offered increases of about 17% through 2024. Pilots have recently been protesting against burdensome work schedules, something they want to address in a new plan. a necklace.

American said it has suspended a platform allowing pilots to change their schedules while the issue is being investigated.

“We understand these are important tools for our pilots and are working as quickly as possible. We will provide updates throughout the day as we learn more,” an American told pilots in an email on Saturday.

“They have failed to keep the IT system running properly, and now there are no dedicated pilots for thousands of flights,” said Dennis Tajer, captain of American Airlines and a spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association. He said the case was creating “an uncertainty for passengers and pilots”.

A similar problem occurred in 2017, when a technical problem allowed American pilots to take time off during the busy December holiday period. The carrier offered pilots a pay of 150% for pilots who performed missions.

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