American Airlines cancels HUNDREDS of flights because of staff shortages and 2,500 more could be cut in July

AMERICAN Airlines has canceled hundreds of flights this weekend due to staff shortages and other issues – with officials warning that nearly 2,500 more could cut between now through July.

A total of 123 flights were canceled on Saturday, 178 on Sunday, and 97 have so far been canceled for Monday following a high number of sick calls, combined with maintenance and other staffing issues, ABC reported.

A spokesperson for American told the network that the majority of the cancelations are on A320 and 737 aircraft.

They warned the company may continue to cancel between 50 to 60 flights per day for the rest of June and 50 to 80 flights through the end of July – totaling up to around 2,500.

The cancelations come in an effort to serve a surprise uptick in travel demand as the pandemic slows and restrictions ease.

"The first few weeks of June have brought unprecedented weather to our largest hubs, heavily impacting our operation and causing delays, canceled flights and disruptions to crew member schedules and our customers' plans," American spokeswoman Stacey Day said.

"That, combined with the labor shortages some of our vendors are contending with and the incredibly quick ramp-up of customer demand, has led us to build in additional resilience and certainty to our operation by adjusting a fraction of our scheduled flying through mid-July."

According to Day, the cancellations will help the airline "ensure we can take good care of our customers and team members and minimize surprises at the airport."

The airline said its cancellations were targeted at impacting the smallest number of customers "by adjusting flights in markets where we have multiple options for re-accommodation."

Customers who had been booked through July 15 will be notified in advance or will have already received notifications if their flights have been canceled so they can make other arrangements ahead of time, Day said.

Airlines and other transportation operators have seen a quick jump in demand as US Covid-19 vaccination rates increased and travel restrictions lifted in recent weeks.

According to data from the US Transportation Security Administration, nearly 50 million airport passengers were registered in May, up 19 percent from April.

So far in June, the TSA has registered nearly 35 million air passengers.

American Airlines said the incredibly quick increase of demand also came at a time when bad weather caused multi-hour delays over the last few weeks, disrupting flight and crew work hours.

The company said some of its vendors were also struggling with labor shortages, impacting the airline's operations.

When air travel came to a shattering halt in March 2020, thousands of employees were offered early retirement and buyouts, but now airlines are racing to fill the positions again.

American is also racing to train all of the pilots it furloughed in between two federal aid packages that prohibited layoffs as well as its aviators who are due for scheduled training, CNBC reports.

Despite its woes, American is still scheduling far more flights than its competitors, with a July schedule roughly 20 percent larger than Delta Airlines or United.

Customers, however, have been left angered by the cancelations, venting their outrage across social media on Sunday.

"American Airlines cancelled my flight because “not enough people boarded” and I’ve been stuck at the airport since 8 am and finally they just confirmed me for a flight at 6pm. Never again," one traveler tweeted.

A second added: "'You’ve canceled two flights. I was on hold for hours. The flight change is NOT acceptable. Need to speak with an agent. Also need a refund on the extra fee I was charged for a flight change I made to my original booking that AA has now canceled. You owe me money."

A third wrote: "Hey #AAteam have a wife that just had surgery and has to fly home and you canceled the flight without notice. Didn’t schedule another one and not nearly enough credits to pay for a last minute flight home. Good work on getting us home for #FathersDay."

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