World Bulletin / News Desk
The employee scheduling software for American, the largest airline in the world, allowed too many pilots to take time off between Dec. 17 and Dec. 31, the busiest travel time of the year.
Many of the pilotless flights are scheduled to depart from American’s most bustling hubs, including airports in New York City, Miami, Dallas and Chicago.
“Management disclosed a failure within the pilot schedule bidding system,” the pilots’ union Allied Pilots Association (APA) said in a statement.
“As a result, thousands of flights currently do not have pilots assigned to fly them during the upcoming critical holiday period.”
American said it is offering to pay a 150 percent wage to any pilot who will come back to work during those dates. Neither the airline nor the APA could guarantee that the gambit would prevent the mass cancelation of thousands of flights.
“We are working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
Roughly 6,700 American flights take off every day.
The airline’s stock tumbled amid the news Wednesday, undoing earlier gains in the day, dropping about 0.4 percent to $49.00 in afternoon trading.
In September, European airline Ryanair had to cancel about 2,100 flights due to a staff scheduling error, stranding travelers throughout Europe.