Santa Claus came in advance for American Airlines pilots. The company's computer system offered holidays to all fliers on a critical date. The largest U.S. airline is now trying to resolve the situation because it does not have enough staff available to cater for thousands of flights throughout the month of December, the most intense period of travel.
The problem was announced by the Allied pilots Association this Wednesday. The company notified them that the flight planning system did not make any distinctions in the election of the free days. Older pilots have a preference. The airline does not specify how many would be affected. The only point is that the lack of pilots is concentrated in the second half of December, the most complicated.
The unions claim that there are 15,000 scheduled flights without captains, co-pilots or without both. American Airlines ensures that you are working diligently to correct the situation and avoid cancellations. The arrangement has a price. The company offers pilots and other staff incentives of 150% on the base salary for working during the holidays. It is the maximum that can be compensated based on the contract in force.
We're working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season, Adrienne.
— American Airlines (@AmericanAir) November 29, 2017 this year, 30 million people are expected to travel during the Christmas holidays. Only American Airlines, with 15,000 active pilots, plans to make 200,000 flights in December and it is not clear that all planes can take off. Unions try to force their hands and are asking pilots not to accept the remedy offered because they believe that it does not meet the conditions of the employment contract.
The problem was discovered at the end of last week, when the union detected that there were 19,000 seats in the unallocated cockpit. The incident is unusual. But it's not unique. The low-cost European airline Ryanair drags from mid-September a similar problem with the flight planning system, which will lead you to cancel 20,000 flights between November and March next year for lack of pilots.