DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines is scrambling to find pilots to operate thousands of flights over the busy Christmas holiday period after a glitch in the system used to schedule crews.
A spokesman for the airline said Wednesday that American expects to avoid canceling flights by paying overtime and using reserve pilots.
American isn’t saying how many flights are affected, but the pilots’ union says that about 15,000 flights were scheduled without a captain, a co-pilot or both.
A union spokesman calls it a potential crisis.
American Airlines released a statement to CBS North Carolina that read:
“We are working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season. We have reserve pilots to help cover flying in December, and we are paying pilots who pick up certain open trips 150 percent of their hourly rate – as much as we are allowed to pay them per the contract. We will work with the APA to take care of our pilots and ensure we get our customers to where they need to go over the holidays.”
American is the world’s biggest airline. It has about 15,000 active pilots and expects to operate more than 200,000 flights in December.