According to reports confirmed by FareCompare, American Airlines is sending out layoff warning notices to more than 11,000 employees, though as the Associated Press reports, “only” about 4,400 job losses are expected.
Painful Job Cuts
Earlier this year, the carrier announced it would be axing as many as 13,000 workers as part of its ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. The latest round of cuts affects mostly mechanics and ground workers particularly those in Dallas and Tulsa. American is offering payouts to those who quit.
Pilot Dissatisfaction, Passenger Delays
Meanwhile, American’s huge spike in delayed and canceled flights continues. In the past couple of days alone, more than 150 flights were canceled with more than a thousand departing late, in some cases, hours late. Air travel expert Rick Seaney reports he was on a delayed flight out of Dallas last night – it was scheduled to leave at 6:15 p.m. but didn’t take off until just before 9. “We passengers are caught in the middle,” he said, adding, “It puts some doubt in your mind when you’re looking to buy a flight to get to a business meeting that you can’t be late to.”
Pilot dissatisfaction is at the root of at least some of the delays and cancellations an American Airlines spokesperson now acknowledges [Editor's note: see more comment from AA below]. As WFAA put it, “The cancellations come a few days after American imposed new cost-cutting terms on its pilots – including outsourcing more flying jobs to other airlines and terminating one of the pilots’ retirement programs in November.” Rick Seaney might have been speaking for most passengers when he noted, “I want my pilot to be extremely happy on my flight.” [Editor's note: Hear more of Seaney's comments in his latest podcast].
Pressure on American as Thanksgiving Looms
FareCompare has contacted American for comment and will update with a spokesperson’s response. UPDATE: An American rep tells FareCompare that “an increase in pilot sick levels and an increase in maintenance reports filed by our flight crews” are indeed factors in the current delays/cancelations; as a result, the airline will reduce the rest of its September and October schedule by approximately 1 to 2%. No doubt the airline is feeling the pressure, especially now that passengers begin to shop for Thanksgiving tickets – generally the busiest and most lucrative travel period for airlines.