Despite a wave of summer flight cancellations by American Airlines, operations from Miami International Airport will remain largely unaffected, a spokesperson said.
The onslaught of travel bookings by cabin-fevered Americans led the airline to announce temporary cuts earlier this week amid staff shortages. Throughout the rest of June, American will make around 50-60 short-notice flight cancellations nationwide each day as needed. For the first half of July, the company has already canceled around 50-80 previously scheduled flights per day nationwide, accounting for about 1% of its capacity.
The impact on Miami flights will vary. On Monday, American Airlines canceled four MIA flights; on Tuesday, the company did not cancel any MIA flights. On Wednesday, it canceled one MIA flight.
“The majority of these adjustments were made in markets with multiple flight options with the goal of moving customers to these different flights,” said company spokesperson Laura Masvidal via email. “When that’s not possible, our customers are able to receive a full refund when the schedule change is more than four hours from their original departure time.”
During the first half of June, Masvidal said the airline saw nine days of interrupted operations due to weather, shrinking the number of available employees to staff other flights. Some of the airline’s vendors are facing staffing shortages, as workers resist returning to low-pay pre-pandemic jobs.
Airlines are having trouble bringing back staff at the same pace that customer demand is surging back, said Ahmed Abdelghany, associate dean for research and professor of operations management at the David B. O’Maley College of Business at Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University. Airline schedules are set months in advance, making a quick change difficult.
“They tried to capture the demand with more flights, but they end up unable to perform what they are promising,” said Abdelghany. “Getting this workforce back takes time.”
The cancellations come as American is expanding its presence at MIA. This month, the company launched service to Tel Aviv, Israel; Little Rock, Arkansas; Portland, Maine; Huntsville, Alabama; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Rochester, New York. American had previously announced new service from MIA to Suriname starting in July but has pushed back the launch to the fall due to lack of demand, Masvidal said.
Over this summer, American expects to fly more than 90% of its domestic capacity and 80% of international capacity compared to summer 2019. For MIA, the capacity will be about equal, Masvidal said.
Dallas-Fort Worth and Miami traditionally have been the airline’s main hubs for travel to the Caribbean, but this week American announced new service from Austin, Texas, to Cancun, Mexico; Liberia, Costa Rica; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Los Cabos, Mexico; and Nassau, Bahamas, starting in the fall. The airline will also launch daily service from Austin to San Juan, Puerto Rico starting in October.