American Airlines Christmas present: no pilots — no flights

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Anastasia Dagaeva
November 30, 2017

Thousands of American Airlines flights over the Christmas season are in danger of cancellation because an internal scheduling system error gave too many pilots time off, reports New York Times. It was not yet clear on 29 November whether any flights would be delayed or canceled. 

American Airlines was scrambling to fill the scheduling hole by offering pilots one and a half times their normal pay, said Gregg Overman, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association. But the union, which represents more than 15,000 pilots, filed a grievance, saying that the premium pay was not covered by its contract and that the airline couldn’t guarantee payment.

Overman also said about 15,000 flights from 17 December to the end of the year were in trouble. “I’m sorry I can’t offer any guidance other than: Stay tuned,” Overman said. “And here’s hoping the folks running the airline come to us and are willing to sit down and work through it, because we don’t have a solution at this point.” American Airlines said in a statement that it expected to avoid cancellations. 

"At this point, it’s a big problem," Overman said. "The last thing we want to see is any kind of massive schedule disruption around the holidays.”

American Airlines, the world’s biggest airline, expects to operate more than 200,000 flights in December.

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