US airline American Airlines announced on Friday that it would cancel more than 700 flights because of a labor dispute with pilots and had to impose new work rules on pilots as a result.
“To remedy the unacceptable situation, we are required to impose – in the interests of all parties – work rules that constitute a full force under our collective bargaining agreement,” the company said in a statement, adding that it “will continue to negotiate with the Allied Pilots Association, and hope we can reach an equitable solution”.
Pilots union rejects American Airlines contract proposal in national air traffic controllers strike Read more
American, which has had turbulent negotiations with its pilots for several years, last week said it would conduct forced furloughs for some of its 2,200 pilots and was giving them 14 days notice so that US air traffic controllers can handle flights in the event of a strike by the airline’s pilots.
US air traffic controllers overwhelmingly voted this week to reject an American Airlines contract proposal, prompting the airline to order the forced furloughs. Pilots said the furloughs were a last resort as they attempted to bargain for better terms in ongoing contract negotiations.
On Thursday, American said it would lose $65m in revenue if the controllers strike and incurred $100m in expense. The company warned the two costs could rise to $200m and $400m if the strike goes into effect.
The company said it had unilaterally imposed work rules on its pilots that would enable it to remove seasonal positions that support additional flights and assigned aircraft that were not critical to maintaining the number of flights it operates on a daily basis.
“Pilots were left without leverage to reach a fair agreement,” American said in a statement on Friday. “The accumulated pattern is devastating. We won’t be able to compete in the future without a stronger competitive position, and without that, our customers will be hurt.”