holidays In a scheduling program that occurred early Saturday morning, pilots were allowed to drop flights the airline had been relying on to fly for the remainder of this month in order to take time off. The number of flights departing without one or both pilots has risen quickly past the 12,000 mark, according to the Allied Pilots Association, the pilots’ union of America, which employs nearly 13,000 APA members.
Although the triple pay is a one-time windfall for American pilots, the airline has also agreed to pay a permanent double pay to pilots who fly on peak days, which often fall during holiday travel periods.
“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with APA and appreciate their partnership in reaching a swift decision to care for our pilots, our team and our customers,” the company said in a statement.
A computer glitch has caused its own set of problems for the country’s largest airline. Tracking service FlightAware showed that nearly 200 US flights, or about 6% of their schedule, were canceled Wednesday, and more than 800 flights were delayed, or nearly 26% of scheduled flights.
US spokesman Matt Miller said he did not know the reason for the canceled and delayed flights on Wednesday or the number of flights caused by the schedule. But Dennis Trader, an American pilot and Etihad spokesperson, said it was clear that the problems stem primarily from scheduling problems.
Trader added that negotiations between the new chief executive of the United States, Robert Isom, and the leadership of the pilots’ union returned things to normal fairly quickly.
“You had a system already under duress without enough pilots,” said a trader. “This IT failure could have caused problems for July if nothing had been done. We are cautiously optimistic that Mr. Isom sees the value of working with us.”
Ed Secher, president of the APA, said in a letter to members that he hopes this agreement will be a stepping stone for a new business deal for American pilots.
Etihad and the airline have been negotiating a new contract since 2019, but efforts to reach a long-term agreement have been derailed by the pandemic. The pilots continue to operate under the terms of the 2015 contract that was due to be renegotiated in 2020.
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