(NEW YORK) – Hundreds of American Airlines flights were canceled this weekend and Monday due to significant staffing and maintenance issues.
By Sunday afternoon, 123 flights on Saturday, 178 on Sunday and 97 for Monday had been canceled – mainly due to a high number of sick leave, combined with maintenance and other personnel problems.
American told ABC News that most of the cancellations are for A320 and 737 aircraft, but it may continue to cancel at least 50 to 60 flights per day for the rest of June and 50 to 80 flights per day through July.
“We made targeted changes to reach as few customers as possible by adjusting flights in markets where we have multiple options for rebooking,” said a statement from American Airlines.
American said it will try to let customers know about their flights well in advance and give customers the option to rebook to alternative flights through their app.
All U.S. airlines and the Transportation Security Administration are struggling with staffing levels as air traffic has risen rapidly from historic lows to pre-pandemic levels.
When air traffic stalled in March 2020, early retirement and takeover options were offered to thousands of employees, but now airlines are desperate to fill those positions again.
American is also grappling with staff shortages at its catering company and wheelchair users.
United Airlines is desperately looking for baggage agents.
And at one point over Memorial Day weekend, Delta Airlines’ automated service notified customers that they had waited more than 21 hours to speak to a reservations agent.
Earlier this month, acting TSA administrator Darby LaJoye asked office workers to volunteer at airports for up to 45 days. The volunteers would take on non-verification roles such as onboarding new hires and managing security lines.
In an attempt to hire 6,000 new civil servants to cope with the summer travel boom, the TSA offered recruitment incentives such as $ 1,000 for civil servants accepting employment within the agency.
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