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American Airlines Says Pilot Shortage Nearly Solved

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Scheduled pilots to take on most flights left without staff due to computer glitch.

American Airlines said Thursday only several hundred flights out of a potential 15,000 scheduled for next month do not currently have pilots after a software glitch caused scheduling problems.

The world’s largest airline on Wednesday said the glitch in the employee scheduling software allowed too many pilots to take time off during the busy holiday travel season.

Thousands of pilots were able to schedule breaks Dec. 17-31, leaving flights scheduled to depart from American’s most bustling hubs pilotless, including airports in New York City, Miami, Dallas and Chicago.

A day later, American said most of those flights now have pilots.

“Out of the 200,000 flights American will operate in December, only a few hundred are currently unassigned to pilots,” according to a statement by American.

"That number of open flights continues to decrease thanks to our pilots who are stepping up to the plate and picking up trips to ensure customers are taken care of.”

The airline is offering pilots 150 percent of normal wages to come back to work. American also said it has pilots on reserve during the December travel rush.

"It’s another example of why we are thankful to have such an incredible team,” American said. “In addition, we have more reserve pilots on hand in December than normal months, and they provide us with the ability to fly many of the trips that are currently uncovered.”

While many travelers were concerned about thousands of canceled flights, American suggested that does not appear likely to happen.

“We have not canceled any scheduled flights in December and will continue to work to ensure both our pilots and our customers are cared for,” American said.


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