Thursday, November 30, 2017

Glitch Leaves American Scrambling for Pilots on 15,000 Holiday Flights: Airline said it would pay pilots who pick up the unassigned flights 150% of their standard hourly wage, the top rate allowed in the union contract



The Wall Street Journal
By Susan Carey
Nov. 29, 2017 5:56 p.m. ET


American Airlines Group Inc.was scrambling on Wednesday to entice pilots to cover for a computer glitch that left the carrier short of aviators for 15,000 flights during the coming Christmas travel period.

The Allied Pilots Association union said the airline’s computer system mistakenly granted extra time off to an unusual number of pilots in late December. American said it would pay pilots who pick up the unassigned flights 150% of their standard hourly wage, the top rate allowed in the union contract.

“We are working diligently to address this issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season,” an American spokesman said. He wouldn’t say how many flights were unstaffed or how many had already been reassigned.

Shares of American, the nation’s largest carrier, fell 0.5% to $48.98 on Wednesday, while shares in other carriers rose.

Airlines sometimes run into scheduling trouble during busy holiday periods, when their employees want to be at home just as travel demand is peaking. To prepare for such crunches and everyday problems such as crew illnesses and emergencies, airlines keep some pilots on a “reserve” status that obligates them to fly if called. American said those reserve pilots can help fill the staffing problem shortfall next month.

American, based in Fort Worth, Texas, said it detected the problem late last week and had rebooted its pilot-assignment system by Tuesday. In a memo to pilots, American’s crew scheduling department said it has openings at eight crew bases in mid- to late-December for a variety of aircraft types.

Capt. Dennis Tajer, spokesman for the 15,000-member pilot union, said the group has filed a grievance alleging that American unilaterally reached its solution in violation of the pilots’ contract and without communicating with the union. As a result, Allied Pilots said the union can’t guarantee to its members the promised payment of overtime on all the open trips.

Original article can be found here ➤ https://www.wsj.com

No comments: