Error in the planning program happened early Saturday morning and allowed pilots to drop flights the airline expected them to fly the rest of this month to take time off. The number of flights left without one or both of the required pilots rose rapidly past the 12,000 mark, according to the Allied Pilots Association, the pilot association of American, which employs approximately 13,000 APA members.
Although the triple salary is a one-time maturity for American pilots, the airline has also agreed to a permanent double salary for pilots who fly on high days, which often fall during holiday travel periods.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with APA and appreciate their cooperation in reaching a solution quickly to take care of our pilots, our team and our customers,”[ads1]; the airline said in a statement.
The data error caused its own set of problems for the country’s largest airline. The FlightAware tracking service showed that nearly 200 US flights, or about 6% of the plan, were canceled on Wednesday, and more than 800 flights, or about 26% of the scheduled, were delayed.
US spokesman Matt Miller said he did not know the reason for the canceled and delayed flights on Wednesday, or how many were caused by the planning. But Dennis Tajer, an American pilot and spokesman for the association, said it was clear that the problems stemmed primarily from the planning problems.
Tajer added that negotiations between America’s new CEO, Robert Isom, and the pilot’s union leadership got things back to normal fairly quickly.
“You already had a system under duress without enough pilots,” Tajer said. “This IT error would have created problems for the month of July if nothing had been done. We are cautiously optimistic that Mr. Isom sees the value of working with us.”
Ed Sicher, president of the APA, said in a statement to the membership that he hopes this agreement can be a springboard for reaching a new employment agreement for pilots at American.
The union and the airline had been negotiating a new contract since 2019, but efforts to reach a long-term agreement were derailed by the pandemic. Pilots continue to work according to a contract from 2015 that was to be renegotiated in 2020.