American Airlines dropped about 1% of its scheduled daily flights for July

Published on : Wednesday, June 23, 2021

American Airlines Group Inc. dropped about 1% of its scheduled daily flights for July after a faster-than-expected surge in summer travel led to crew shortages.

The airline will cancel 950 flights during the first 13 days of July, after it scrapped more than 400 flights over the weekend and into Monday on what it cited as poor weather conditions at its Miami and Chicago hubs that exacerbated a shortfall in pilots. In some cases, delays caused by storms exhausted its group of reserve pilots.

The sudden jump in demand fueled by people tired of staying close to home has strained airlines’ ability to rebuild operations cut back amid the onset of the pandemic last year. Pilots who took leave and those who were switched to new types of planes have had to be retrained as flight demand has recovered to near-2019 levels.

American added flights back faster than its primary competitors and is operating at about 10% of its 2019 seat capacity, according to records from flight-data firm OAG. Delta Air Lines Inc. is more than 20% behind pre-pandemic capacity and United Airlines Holdings Inc. is more than 30% below. American didn’t immediately comment on the difference.

American and other airlines have had trouble matching their desire to offer flights with their ability to assemble crews, although it expects to complete training for furloughed pilots by the end of June. The airline said it dropped flights in markets that have other options for passengers and is working to make schedule changes in advance of travelers’ departure dates.

American fell 0.2% to $22.25 at 1:52 p.m. in New York trading, the only decline among a Standard & Poor’s index of the five largest U.S. carriers, which rose 1.1%.

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