American Airlines is joining its aviation colleagues who are looking to “right-size” the flight schedule ahead of the next travel demand surge.
American is cutting a whopping 31,000 flights from its schedule in the month of November, or about 16 percent of its total scheduled flights, according to CNN, which cited data from the aviation research company Cirrium.
In many respects, the airlines are trying to get ahead of the game for the holiday period between Halloween and New Year’s. Carriers were unprepared for the pent-up demand that resulted in a plethora of air travelers in the spring and summer. That, in turn, caught airlines short-handed in terms of staffing and led to massive delays and cancellations.
The answer, apparently, is for airlines to avoid the same situation for the holidays by cutting flights ahead of time. JetBlue just did it days ago, eliminating 37 routes. In a statement to the aviation blog The Points Guy, JetBlue said:
“To ensure continued operational reliability, we’re planning a schedule change for this fall and into 2023 that will extend some of the market suspensions we put in place earlier this year. This summer has been more resilient because of the capacity pulldowns we put in place and we believe it’s prudent to plan similarly for next year. We’re getting ahead of it now to ease pressure on our Customer Support team and to offer more time for rebooking our customers. These suspensions are primarily in markets and airports that are especially challenging from an operational or (air traffic controller) perspective.”
American Airlines said something similar in a statement to CNN, saying the 31,000 cuts are “in line with our approach to network and schedule planning throughout the year.”
Most of the cuts made by American are between Chicago O’Hare and Dallas-Fort Worth, as well as between Boston and Philadelphia.
“Preliminary schedules are published 331 days in advance and then adjustments are made closer in based on the schedule we intend to operate,” American said to CNN in a statement. “We are now loading schedule adjustments approximately 100 days in advance, which is in line with how we adjusted our schedule in 2019 prior to the pandemic.”
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