The pilot union that represents American Airlines (AA) said the airline might be short of pilots during the busy holiday season due to a computer glitch. Normally cockpit crew bid on the schedule they want but this year, but the computer bidding program failed allowing too many pilots time off during one of the busiest travel times of the year according to the The Allied Pilots Association, representing 15,000 pilots at AA crew. “Thousands of flights currently do not have pilots assigned to fly them during the upcoming critical holiday period,” APA said in a statement.
Once the glitch was discovered AA informed the pilots and “issued an update detailing the ‘significant holes’ in the operation and unilaterally invoked a solution for crewing affected flights,” the Fort Worth-based union said.
In a bit of what seems like politics, AA has offered pilots more money to pilots to operate some flights during December, but the APA union has filed a grievance saying the airline’s solution violates the pilots’ contracts. So, we have AA admitting some computer problem, offering incentives and the union pushing back on a technicality.
Where does this leave the flying public?
This pilot shortage resembles the pilot problem at Europe’s biggest low cost carrier Ryanair. Overall, the airline had to cancel 20,000 flights as a result of the pilot shortage.