After a personnel shortage forced American Airlines to cancel over a hundred flights on Saturday and hundreds more in advance, the airline was unable to operate some of its summer route network.
American’s cancellations come as U.S. airlines continue to ramp up flights in preparation for a recovery in travel demand during the peak summer travel season, as originally reported by View From the Wing.
On Friday, approximately 2.1 million people passed through TSA checkpoints, exceeding 75 percent of 2019 totals and nearly four times the amount of people who passed through U.S. airports on the same day in 2020.
According to flight tracking website FlightAware, American Airlines has canceled 119 flights and delayed almost 450 on Saturday, accounting for 4% and 9% of the airline’s daily schedule, respectively. The airline had canceled 83 flights the day before on Friday and was on track to cancel nearly 150 on Sunday, before dropping to 82 scheduled cancellations on Monday.
The flight cancellations have mostly been on Boeing 737 aircraft, leading to speculation that the crew shortfall is predominantly, if not entirely, caused by pilots.
During 30% of 737 flights had been canceled over the course of the day as of late Sunday evening. In comparison, other aircraft types only account for about 10% of the airline’s flights.
It’s unclear whether the airline will be able to get through the rest of the summer without further problems, but given the slow pace of pilot recertification, which needs a total of five days of training, and American’s limited simulator capacity, the company is likely to struggle moving forward.