DALLAS - American Airlines and American Eagle say they will cancel 300 flights this week to cope with a high number of pilots reporting sick and an increase in maintenance reports filed by crews.
That's 1.25 per cent of the 24,000 flights that were scheduled by the two airlines, which are owned by AMR Corp.
The two airlines had already cancelled 249 flights this week by Wednesday afternoon, a flight-tracking service said, suggesting that cancellations might far exceed American's estimate.
AMR said Wednesday that it cancelled the flights in advance to avoid inconveniencing passengers. Earlier this week, American said it would cut its schedule through the end of October by up to 2 per cent.
American has seen an increase in flight cancellations since early this month, when a federal bankruptcy judge allowed the company to impose new pay and work rules on pilots. The pilots had rejected the company's last contract offer in August.
Each day this week, American has cancelled more flights than any U.S. airline, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.
By late Wednesday afternoon, American and Eagle had cancelled 73 flights, more than the next five airlines combined. They cancelled 104 flights on Tuesday and 72 flights on Monday, FlightAware said.
In a note to operations managers, American said it was telling frequent fliers why it's been experiencing cancellations and delays. It is letting customers fly standby for earlier flights at no extra charge, and giving crews more leeway to hand out light snacks to delayed passengers.
The company said it's also offering overtime and adjusting work schedules for reservations and airport employees, and is moving maintenance crews to where they are needed most.
AMR is trying to slash annual labour costs by about $1 billion as it reorganizes under bankruptcy protection. Eight of its nine union labour groups ratified cost-cutting contracts, with pilots the lone holdout.