American Airlines put out a statement late Thursday in response to the earlier post by the APA.
"We are confident in the causes of the recent operational challenges of flight cancellations and delays. Prior to the recent issues, American had been running a good operation, with on-time performance and reliability measures at their best levels in many years The recent disruptions are primarily due to the significant increase in maintenance write-ups by our pilots, many right at the time of departure. Additionally, continued higher-than-normal sick usage by pilots, which has been up more than 20 percent year over year and has been elevated for months, impacts the availability of reserve pilots, which can ultimately lead to cancellations. Our pilot staffing - without the recent actions regarding maintenance write-ups and the continued increase in sick time - is adequate to meet our scheduling needs and recalling pilots from furlough would not be needed.
First, we apologize to all of our customers for the inconvenience this has caused. We understand how irritating and unfortunate this is in interrupting or delaying their travel plans. We appreciate their patience and hope for their understanding. We also appreciate very much the extra and difficult work this has caused so many of our people and especially appreciate the fabulous job our maintenance crews have been doing in taking care of these additional write-ups and getting planes back on schedule as fast as possible. In addition, our inventory of spare parts is at the highest level in years.
American has taken significant steps to try to limit the impact on our customers. We have carefully selected some 300 flights this week to pre-cancel to allow us to re-accommodate passengers in advance. And, through October we have reduced our schedule 1 to 2 percent as well. In addition, we have increased staffing in all other areas to assist in re-accommodating customers and are reaching out to customers proactively to notify them of the options available and the ability to standby for earlier flights at no charge.
We remain committed to doing all we can to serve our customers to provide safe, reliable transportation, just as they have always expected and received from American Airlines."
Bruce Hicks, American Airlines spokesman