Pilot shortages add to US journey chaos as airways wrestle to satisfy demand – The Guardian

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The chaos afflicting American journey has continued as a scarcity of pilots turned the newest flashpoint for anger in opposition to the embattled airline business.

On Tuesday, greater than 1,300 Southwest airline pilots picketed in Dallas, Texas, amid stalled contract negotiations. American Airlines, which flies to greater than 350 locations, additionally blamed pilot shortages for its resolution to cease operations in three cities – Ithaca and Islip, each in New York, and Toledo in Ohio – after 7 September. The airline is the the only major one offering service out of Toledo.

“In response to the regional pilot shortage affecting the airline industry, American Airlines has made the difficult decision to end service,” a spokeswoman, Andrea Koos, mentioned in a statement.

Following the cancellation or delay of approximately 14,000 flights within the US on Friday and Saturday, the pilot shortages are exacerbating the airways’ present wrestle to deal with the huge variety of every day vacationers.

Many airways have blamed the scarcity and common staffing points on elevated journey calls for following the easing of pandemic restrictions and the busy summer season vacation season.

Airline staff, nevertheless, counter that low wages and poor circumstances are guilty. Pilots say that near-daily flight reassignments have added stress to their jobs, exacerbating present fatigue.

The picketing in Dallas is over associated points, mentioned Capt Casey A Murray, a pilot and the president of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association, who told NBC News that just about 30% of pilots at Southwest are reassigned every day, typically on longer flights that depart them feeling overwhelmed.

“If you’re going to continue to misuse us, you’re going to continue to be short of staffing,” he mentioned.

The union, which represents 8,300 pilots, mentioned that “pilot fatigue rates have reached an all-time high” amid ongoing scheduling points, poor pay charges and different considerations.

“The Pilots of Southwest have been in contract negotiations with the company for more two years with no meaningful movement toward a new contract,” mentioned the union in a statement to NBC News.

A spokesperson for Southwest Airlines commented on the picketing. “We’re aware that some off-duty pilots are participating in informational picketing today,” Christopher Perry told the Dallas Morning News.

“Southwest Airlines respects the rights of our employees to express their opinions, and we do not anticipate any disruption in service as a result of this single demonstration.”

Pilots at Delta Air Lines, represented by the Airline Pilots Association, wrote an open letter to Delta clients final Tuesday about ongoing flight cancellations and delays. It accused Delta administration of scheduling extra flights than obtainable pilots. Aviators have been working file quantities of additional time in consequence, it mentioned.

Delta pilots had been protesting since May outdoors Delta hubs in a number of main cities over fatigue and poor scheduling.

“Our pilots are tired and fatigued,” Capt Evan Baach advised the Guardian in a previous interview. “Our pilots are working record amounts of overtime, we’re working longer days, we have shorter nights in between our duty periods. We want the company to match their words with action and make changes to the pilot schedules.”

The variety of airplane pilots and engineers decreased by almost 4% over two years, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.


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