American Airlines cancels 262 more flights, taking total to more than 2,000 amid staffing shortages & unfavorable weather

American Airlines canceled a further 262 flights on Monday after nearly 2,000 were called off over the weekend, as the company struggles with staff shortages worsened by severe winds at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

On Monday, the US carrier said the additional cancelations represented some 5% of its total flights planned as of 7.30 am ET (11:30 GMT). American Airlines has now canned some 2,211 flights since Friday.  

The cancelations have been put down to staffing shortages exacerbated by severe winds at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in Texas, which has seen the airline’s arrival capacity reduced by more than half at the hub. The firm said at the weekend that the unfavorable weather had impacted staffing. Fort Worth is also home to the airline’s headquarters. 

In a statement, the firm said further cancelations would likely be prevented with the return of some 1,800 flight attendants from leave, starting on Monday. “We expect considerable improvement beginning today with some residual impact from the weekend,” company spokeswoman Sarah Jantz said in a statement. 

Southwest Airlines has also faced service disruptions in recent days, with the carrier dropping 192 flights on Sunday. It had a whopping 774 delays and 87 cancelations on Saturday. 

As US federal contractors, both airlines are also subject to the vaccine mandate introduced by the Biden administration, which insists employees must have received a Covid-19 shot by December 8, unless exempt for medical or religious reasons. Last month, hundreds of American Airlines employees gathered outside the company’s Fort Worth headquarters to protest the vaccine mandate, while a similar but smaller demonstration was reportedly held in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

Southwest Airlines has also seen employees protest the federal vaccine mandate. The company last month denied that a raft of its flight cancelations was in any way linked to the mandate issue.