A computer glitch has caused an estimated 12,000 American Airlines flights to not have pilots in the month of July. There have also been thousands of delays or cancellations for this Fourth of July travel weekend.
Newsweek reported, “On Friday, American Airlines alone had to delay nearly 1,000 flights, with the industry overall suffering over 1,100 cancellations and nearly 11,000 delays. The issue leveled off somewhat on Saturday, with only around 3,000 flights being canceled.”
NBC News reported on Saturday, “More than 12,000 July flights lacked either a captain, first officer or both, after pilots dropped assignments, the Allied Pilots Association said earlier.”
ABC News reporter Gio Benitez wrote on Twitter, “An overnight computer glitch has allowed thousands of American Airlines pilots to drop their scheduled flights. The union says at least 12,000 flights are now without pilots starting tomorrow through the end of July.”
According to Benitez, there was a similar situation that happened in 2017, “The airline offered double pay to get the pilots back in the air. No such offer has been made just yet.”
American Airlines said in a statement, “We have become aware of a technical issue with our Trip Trade with Open Time System (TTOT). We understand these are important tools for our pilots and are working as quickly as possible. We will provide updates throughout the day as we learn more.”
American Airlines claimed that there would be no impact on the holiday weekend operation, according to Benitez.
The Daily Mail reported, “Pilots typically go by month-to-month schedules on the Preferential Bidding System. In most cases, staff with seniority and override more junior staff’s requests for certain routes or days off.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg wrote on Twitter, “When deciding whether to accept miles, it’s helpful to know their value, which varies, but often is estimated at 1 to 1.5 cents per mile. For example, my connecting flight got canceled last night. At first, the airline offered 2500 miles, which I estimate is worth about 30 bucks. But I claimed the refund for the canceled portion instead, and it worked out to be $112.07.”
Staffing shortages and major thunderstorms have already interrupted commercial airline flight service this summer.
“Certain jobs cannot be filled quickly, nor should they be when it’s as critical as, you know, pilots,” William McGee – a senior fellow for aviation at American Economic Liberties Project – told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “And so now we have this shortage. There’s just no way it’s going to be fixed this summer.”