American Cancels 300 Flights This Week as Pilots Call In Sick

American Airlines and American Eagle have already canceled almost 300 flights this week due to a high number of pilots calling in sick and an increase in maintenance reports filed by crews.

Parent Company AMR Corp. said Wednesday that it canceled the flights in advance to avoid inconveniencing passengers. Earlier this week, American said it would cut its schedule through the end of October by up to 2 percent.

The airlines had not canceled any outbound flights from Tulsa International Airport for today as of 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to the airport's website.

American has seen an increase in flight cancelations since early this month, when a federal bankruptcy judge allowed the company to impose new pay and work rules on pilots. The pilots had rejected the company's last contract offer in August.

Each day this week, American has canceled more flights than any U.S. airline, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.

In a note to operations managers, American said it was telling frequent fliers why it's been experiencing cancelations and delays. It is letting customers fly standby for earlier flights at no extra charge, and giving crews more leeway to hand out light snacks to delayed passengers.

The company said it's also offering overtime and adjusting work schedules for reservations and airport employees, and is moving maintenance crews to where they are needed most.

AMR is trying to slash annual labor costs by about $1 billion as it reorganizes under bankruptcy protection. Eight of its nine union labor groups ratified cost-cutting contracts, with pilots the lone holdout.

Staff and Wire Reports