American Airlines cancelled more than 1,000 flights on Friday due to staffing issues and high winds at its busiest hub.
According to FlightAware, American cancelled nearly 460 flights on Saturday. This represents 17% of its mainline schedule. Southwest Airlines, based in Dallas, has canceled 86 flights or 2% of Saturday operations.
American cancelled 285 more flights, 10% of its Sunday schedule, in addition to the 340 cancellations that occurred Friday.
American's COO David Seymour stated in a staff memo on Saturday that the problem started on Thursday with high winds gusts that reduced capacity at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Crew members were then out of position for their next flights.
According to CNBC's internal statistics, most cancellations occurred on Saturday or Sunday due to flight attendant and pilot availability.
Seymour stated that "with additional weather throughout the system our staffing starts to run tight as crewmembers end up out of regular flight sequences." Seymour stated that most customers were rebooked that day and that the operation should stabilize by November.
Since late spring, airlines have had to deal with staffing shortages, which have caused hundreds of cancellations and other disruptions. During the worst of the pandemic, thousands of employees were convinced by carriers to take voluntary leave of absence or buyouts to reduce their payroll costs.
They are now trying to increase their staffing levels by hiring flight attendants, pilots, ramp and customer service workers, as well as flight attendants. Airlines are unable to recover from disruptions such as bad weather and technology issues if they have a smaller staff.
Southwest stated earlier this month that it lost $75 million due to a meltdown in which it cancelled more than 2,000 flights. The company also stated that it will further reduce its 2021 schedule to avoid any more disruptions after making earlier cuts.
Seymour, American Airlines' spokesperson, stated that 1,800 flight attendants will be returning to work after leave on Nov. 1, and the rest by December. It also stated that it is currently hiring mechanics, pilots and reservation agents to "ensure more team members are available for the holiday season."