American Airlines cuts 1,175 flights in July and August to ease disruptions

American Airlines jets parked at an airport terminal
American Airlines brought capacity back at a faster pace than rivals after slashing operations when the pandemic decimated travel demand. Now it’s scaling back again.
(Associated Press)

American Airlines Group notified flight crews that it has canceled 1,175 flights in July and August as part of efforts to build more “buffer” into its schedule and reduce disruptions that have plagued the industry this summer.

The cuts come after the carrier this week detailed plans to trim flight capacity as much as 10% this quarter and 9.5% for the year from pre-pandemic levels, joining other major airlines that are revising operations amid staffing shortfalls and high costs. The flight reductions are keeping carriers from taking full advantage of a swell in demand that has pushed fares higher and produced record revenue last quarter.

According to data from FlightAware, 2.2% of all U.S. flights since June have been canceled and 22% have been delayed. Industry experts point to airlines ramping up flight schedules to take advantage of rebounding demand despite a workforce hobbled by inexperience and COVID outbreaks.


American brought capacity back at a faster pace than rivals after slashing operations when the pandemic decimated travel demand. It operates an average of 5,400 daily flights. The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier didn’t comment Friday beyond acknowledging the near-term cancellations, which the Allied Pilots Assn. said affect flights as soon as July 27.

The summer travel season has been chaotic. Industry insiders put much of the blame on airline executives who scheduled thousands of extra flights to cash in on demand.

July 22, 2022

“This is an unusual event that close in,” said Dennis Tajer, a union spokesman. “We’re shocked that this is happening at this late stage” of the busy summer travel season.

The cancellations came two days after August work schedules were finalized, the Assn. of Professional Flight Attendants told members in a message. Both unions are in contract talks with the carrier.

American’s shares fell 2.8% to $13.68 on Friday, extending a decline after the carrier reported earnings early Thursday.

American has parked 100 aircraft at its wholly owned regional carriers because of a pilot shortage and has cut the equivalent of an additional 45 jets by decreasing how much it flies some planes at the main airline operations.


Delta Air Lines alerted its pilots in June about flying reductions for July and August, the Air Line Pilots Assn. said. The Atlanta-based airline has said it will hold operations at its June level for the rest of this year, with third-quarter capacity as much as 17% below 2019.