- American Airlines says it is slashing thousands of flights in September and October.
- The cuts equate to thousands of flights, many of which are out of Philadelphia International Airport.
- American told Insider that the changes are “proactive steps to add resiliency into our schedule.”
American Airlines is reducing its fall flying in an effort to minimize flight disruptions after a summer of travel chaos.
On Thursday, Dallas-Fort Worth-based American said it is slashing thousands of flights in September and October, calling the reductions “proactive steps to add resiliency into our schedule” in an email to Insider.
The company explained that the adjustments were made in cities with multiple frequencies “with the goal of moving customers to different flights.”
The worst hit airport will be Philadelphia International Airport, which is one of American’s largest hubs. American explained that its original schedule was based on its 2019 flying schedule but “not the current demand environment.”
Specifically, the airline reduced its flight schedule in Philadelphia by 8.4% in September and 5.3% in October, American confirmed to Insider. The carrier will still fly 213 and 224 average daily departures each month, respectively, which is consistent with the 241 average daily departures from Philadelphia in July, and 228 average daily departures in August.
“The schedule changes made by American across its hub network, including PHL, are indicative of the current travel atmosphere for all airlines and the need to balance passenger demand with capacity and staffing,” Kate Sullivan, the airport’s deputy director of strategic partnerships, told the Business Journal.
Despite the cuts, the carrier told Insider it will still offer an average of 5,400 daily departures across the nation, which is the largest network of any US carrier.
Since May 1, American has canceled or delayed 81,525 flights, according to Flight Aware data. Moreover, the carrier recently grounded 100 regional jets because it does not have enough pilots to fly them and nixed several regional routes, like Philadelphia to Ithaca, New York, and Chicago to Toledo, Ohio.
“We’re sizing the airline for the resources we’ve available and the operating conditions we face, and we’ll make other changes as needed,” American CEO Robert Isom said in the company’s recent earnings call.
American told Insider that it is working to move customers with existing reservations to alternate flights but will offer a refund “under our standard schedule change policy” if the new travel options are not doable.
The news comes just a day after the US Department of Transportation proposed a new rule that would require airlines to compensate passengers for delays of three or more hours for domestic flights or six or more hours for international flights.
The carrier is not the only airline to reduce its flying this year. United cut 12% of its flights at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey to improve on-time performance. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines said it slashed about 100 daily flights in July and August to prevent flight disruptions.