Airlines cut down summer schedules over pilot shortage
The airlines in the United States can definitely not cope with the flow of passengers and the demand for travel that has been created after the Covid-19 pandemic. The airlines are simply not prepared to handle the demand, so what’s next? The answer… make the crews grow and reduce the schedules.
These measures are without any doubt a blow for the airlines in the United States, but the lack of manpower is a reality that must be faced and the bitter pill must be taken. JetBlue reported this past weekend that they will be cutting their itineraries of the month of May and the measures will last until the summer, this due to “staff limitations” after canceling more than 300 flights this past weekend.
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Alaska Airlines also said that they are in the process of reducing their itinerary for the spring to more real and acceptable expectations in an effort to allow the new pilots that are currently in training to finish and catch up with the rest of the crews, hopefully just in time for the summer season.
Both airlines say they learned tough lessons from last summer where as they relaxed the norms and the quarantine disappeared, a wave of eager travelers was unleashed. This wave of travelers saturated the airports and took all the airlines by absolute surprise, while they were still dealing with vaccinations and planes out of norm. The result was cancellations, delays, lost income and a world of frustration for everyone involved.
American Airlines said in early April that they are currently hiring 180 pilots per month and that they will continue to do so until late 2022. The carrier has hired so far 600 new aviators and are looking towards their distribution chain to not lease untied ends and solidify their operations this summer, which promises to be the first normal one since the pandemic started.