Aerial view of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. American Airlines had to cancel over 1,000 flights because of strong winds at the important travel hub. Photo courtesy of DFW International Airport
Oct. 30 (UPI) -- American Airlines has canceled more than 1,000 flights since Friday, citing bad weather and staffing shortages.
Beginning Friday, the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline canceled 342 flights or 11% of its operations, according to tracking site FlightAware. On Saturday, American Airlines grounded another 516 flights, 19% of operations. It further canceled another 425 flights or 15% of operations for Sunday.
By contrast, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines canceled 87 of its flights on Saturday, 2% of operations.
The airline said in a statement to KTVT, the local CBS affiliate, that severe winds in North Texas exacerbated staffing shortages and cut arrival capacity by more than half at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. American Airlines said in the statement it was limited to two runways at the airport, which serves as an important hub, instead of five.
"We are taking this measure to minimize any inconvenience as much as possible," American Airlines said in the statement. "Most of the customers impacted by these changes are being rebooked the same day, and we apologize for having to make these changes."
The airline said that it expects to ramp up staffing in the coming months. Over 600 new flight attendants will be hired and 1,800 will return from leave starting Nov. 1. Another 4,000 new employees working in various positions will be hired in time to accommodate holiday travel.
After seeing a drop in travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, airlines have faced particular challenges in bouncing back. Earlier this month, Southwest Airlines reported $75 million in losses related to weather, air traffic control and staffing difficulties.