Flight cancellations spike at American Airlines

Airline to cut its September, October schedule

Published On: Sep 18 2012 01:55:07 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 18 2012 03:35:25 PM EDT
DALLAS -

Flight cancellations have spiked at American Airlines, which is fighting with unhappy pilots, and the carrier will reduce flights at least partly because of staffing shortages.

An American spokesman says the carrier will cut its schedule for the rest of September and October by 1 to 2 percent due to "a number of factors" including an increase in pilots calling in sick and maintenance reports filed by flight crews. He says American is making changes to ensure reliable service for passengers.

American canceled more flights on Sunday and Monday than any other airline, according to flight-tracking services.

The cancellations come a few days after American imposed new cost-cutting terms on its pilots, including outsourcing more flying jobs to other airlines and terminating one of the pilots' retirement programs in November. Pilots rejected more-generous terms in the last contract offer from American, which has been under bankruptcy protection since November.

Last week, the union sent out ballots for a strike-authorization vote, although federal officials have not cleared the way for a legal strike at the nation's third-biggest airline.

Allied Pilots Association spokesman Tom Hoban says the union neither sanctioned nor supported a sickout.