Number of American Airlines Significantly Reduce Flight Schedule Due To Crew Shortage
Both US Operators JetBlue and Alaska Airline have reduced their Flight Schedule in the months ahead by up to 10% as the airlines are seeing continued flight cancellations due to staff shortages. JetBlue has announced that it will reduce its summer flight schedule by 8 to 10% while Alaska Airlines will reduce its schedule by 2%.
One of the reasons for the shared by Alaska Airlines are pilot training delays as shared on its official blog – snippet below;
“With travelers taking to the skies again, all airlines are focused on recruiting and training more pilots, Alaska included. We’re excited to grow more pilot careers, especially after more than 10,000 pilots left the airline industry during the pandemic. To bring new pilots into our ranks, we launched a new pilot academy, founded a program to develop and support BIPOC pilots and continue to support the careers of pilots that want to move from our regional carrier Horizon Air to a job at Alaska.
When pilots come to Alaska Airlines, we want them to have the best training in the business. That takes time and cannot be rushed.
Unfortunately, during the first few months of 2022, a backlog built up in our training program. Trainings were canceled and delayed due to student or trainer illness during the Omicron surge and due to the operational impact of winter storms, and they were not rescheduled fast enough.
At the same time, we typically schedule our flight crews three months in advance. But due to the training delays, we had 63 fewer pilots prepared to fly in April than we planned for in January.
We should have recognized this sooner and updated our schedule.
We will graduate more than 30 pilots this month, and even more in May. A dedicated team has been deployed to ensure training events are rescheduled faster and ensure we better match our schedule to the number of pilots we have available to fly. We doubled the capacity of our pilot schoolhouse since the fall and are training more trainers. ”
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