American Airlines is facing a staggering amount of issues right now. The Dallas-Fort Worth airport is still closed, the CEO disputes, the shortage of planes, pilots, and mechanics. The company has had to delay flights and even let some passengers with very expensive tickets go home, because there were not enough crew members to man the planes.
Ever since the airline industry was hit by a major crisis last year, there have been questions about how long it will take for American Airlines to fully recover from the event. The airline industry has seen a number of major events that have caused major disruptions in the past, but the American Airlines incident is the airline industry’s worst crisis since the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
American Airlines has been in a state of crisis since January when a computer glitch caused the airline to cancel thousands of flights. The meltdown is now so severe that it has forced the company to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
When will American Airlines recover from its demise?
Gary Leff 21. June 2021
American Airlines cancelled 3% of its flights on Sunday and has already cancelled about 2% today. The cancellations apparently continue, and I think they will continue for the rest of the month, until we reach the 1% capacity reduction the airline expects in the first half of July.
If you’re flying a Boeing 737, you’ll be hit the hardest, as this is the type of fleet most affected by the pilot shortage.
The good news is that customers who cancel their flights in advance can get overbooked tickets and not have to deal with many changes at the airport. The bad news is that the flights are already full and the transfer options are not ideal in most cases.
Since the planned 1% reduction in scheduled flights will not take place until the first half of July, American probably assumes that the current situation will be resolved by then (as it continues to qualify more pilots). However, this is not the only operational stress they face.
The challenges they – and customers – face go beyond pilots. For example (HT: Jon NYC)
DFW is out of control due to staff shortages and infrastructure problems. Hundreds of agents and trappers have been hired in recent months, but many have already quit: too much work and abuse of passengers and too much heat on the ramp. You can earn more at Buc-ee’s and be in shape.
The problem is that there aren’t as many business travelers these days, but mostly VFR and family vacations, which means a lot more baggage than there used to be, and more domestic wide-body carriers that are overcrowded due to the huge amount of connecting baggage that leaves. Too many passengers arrive in the morning and their connecting flight only leaves 3-4 hours later….. There’s no room to store all those hundreds of bags. The tires can’t keep up with the packers and the systems are constantly jammed or at a standstill.
People check in for their scheduled flights at the Envoy counters in Terminals E and B because the TSA lines are shorter there, but Envoy doesn’t have enough staff to handle the hundreds of bags that need to be brought to Terminals A…C…and D. Many other staffing problems due to LUS managers trying to run DFW as if it were an America West speaker station.
Staffing is a big issue for American Airlines, as it is for other airlines. Remember that last holiday season Delta cancelled flights en masse because they increased their flight schedules without having the crew to implement them.
Among younger, lower-paid workers, airline employers have the same problems as Chipotle in finding labor, as the labor force participation rate has not increased significantly over the year, even though demand for workers has risen again. Many expect this problem to be resolved by the fall, when pandemic unemployment will have subsided and school will resume.
However, the problem of pilot shortage is more complex, but still falls within the competence of individual airlines. American has withdrawn several fleet types (Embraer E-190, Boeing 757 and 767, Airbus A330). Drivers for these types of devices are transferred to other devices. Older pilots moving to a new location put pressure on younger pilots to qualify on the new aircraft. Also, pilots who were not flying were not kept informed, even though billions of federal dollars had been set aside specifically to make sure everyone was ready to fly. The airline didn’t spend the money to qualify to stay ahead of consumer demand and got into trouble.
Lake View from the Wing
American Airlines has been having trouble with some of the planes they use, namely those older ones. A recent plane issue has delayed flights for Americans, and American is still struggling to get a handle on the problem.. Read more about airline news and let us know what you think.
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