American Airlines is facing a 'crisis' after computer glitch leaves thousands of Christmas week flights without a pilot

  • Thousands of American Airlines flights may not have pilots during the last two weeks of December.
  • The shortage is occurring because of a glitch in the company’s scheduling system that allowed for too many pilots to take off at the same time.
  • A spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association calls the incident a “crisis.”

American Airlines is having its own nightmare before Christmas.

More than 15,000 American flights between December 17-31 do not yet have pilots because the airline accidentally gave all of its pilots that time off, according to the Allied Pilots Association.

The issue stems from a glitch in the company’s scheduling system, the union said.

“Basically there’s a crisis at American for manning the cockpits,” Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the union, told Reuters.

Pilots were told about the scheduling problem on Friday, the union said.

“We are working diligently to address the issue and expect to avoid cancellations this holiday season,” the airline said in a statement to Business Insider.

“We have reserve pilots to help cover flying in December, and we are paying pilots who pick up certain open trips 150 per cent of their hourly rate – as much as we are allowed to pay them per the contract. We will work with the APA to take care of our pilots and ensure we get our customers to where they need to go over the holidays.”

But the APA has filed a grievance because it says that this actually violates its labour pact.

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