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Hundreds of American Air flights still lack pilots in December

By Alana Wise, Reuters | Dec 01, 2017

NEW YORK — American Airlines still has hundreds of flights without pilots assigned to them in December, the company said on Thursday, after a scheduling error gave too many pilots time off.

The number of flights that remain pilotless is now “a few hundred,” the airline said, compared to a peak that the carrier’s Allied Pilots Association (APA) union estimated at 15,000. American said it expects the number to continue to decrease over the next several days as more pilots agree to operate flights during the busy holiday period.

“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,” spokesman Matt Miller said.

“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.”

However, the pilots union cast doubt on the carrier’s numbers. “The Allied Pilots Association is able to view in real time December flight crew assignments for American Airlines,” spokesman Dennis Tajer said in a statement. “In fact, thousands of flights are still listed as unassigned.”

The error, disclosed to employees on Friday and widely reported this week, was an “isolated incident” and a “mistake,” Miller said.

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