American Airlines Cancels Hundreds of Flights Due to Staffing Shortage, Maintenance Issues
"We made targeted changes with the goal of impacting the fewest number of customers," American Airlines tells PEOPLE in a statement
American Airlines canceled hundreds of flights over the weekend, due to staffing shortages, maintenance issues and major weather.
One hundred twenty-three flights were cancelled on Saturday, 178 were cancelled on Sunday and at least 97 were cancelled on Monday, according to ABC News. American Airlines continued to cancel 50 to 60 flights per day for the rest of June and 50 to 80 flights a day throughout July.
The airline tells PEOPLE that the cancellations will only make up about 1% of their daily operations in July. Many travelers were notified in advance, and the canceled flights were in markets where it offers multiple options for re-accommodation.
"The first few weeks of June have brought unprecedented weather to our largest hubs, heavily impacting our operation and causing delays, canceled flights and disruptions to crewmember schedules and our customers' plans," a rep for American tells PEOPLE in a statement, adding that "combined with the labor shortages some of our vendors are contending with and the incredibly quick ramp-up of customer demand" they were forced to make "targeted changes" to their flying schedule through mid-July with the goal of "impacting the fewest number of customers."
The statement continues, "We never want to disappoint, and feel these schedule adjustments will help ensure we can take good care of our customers and team members and minimize surprises at the airport."
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The cancellations come as the travel industry bounces back from devastating losses and more than a year of uncertainty, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Memorial Day weekend say a 450% boom in air travel from last year, with 7.1 million people taking to the skies during the holiday weekend.
Airlines have struggled to fill staffing shortages after many employees were offered early retirement and buyouts. American Airlines recently asked its corporate staff to volunteer at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, after laying off around 30% of their support staff (around 1,500 people).