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American Airlines cancels one-third of Austin flights, citing weather and staffing concerns

(American Airlines)

American Airlines has canceled more than 1,200 flights this weekend—27 of them in Austin—citing concerns over stormy weather and staffing shortages as the reason for the Halloween shutdown.

The cancellations for Saturday and Sunday made up 12% of national flights and 32% of local flights—not including the 18% of local American Airlines flights that were also delayed. The flight changes come off the heels of Southwest Airlines canceling around 2,000 national flights a few weeks prior.

While demand is steadily increasing in the airline industry, staff cuts from the early days of COVID-19 have put a damper on the rebound. As of 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, almost a third of scheduled American Airlines flights had been called off.

"We have adjusted our operation for the last few days this month by proactively canceling some flights," American Airlines Chief Operating Officer David Seymour said in a statement. "We are taking this measure to minimize any inconvenience as much as possible. Most of the customers impacted by these changes are being rebooked the same day, and we apologize for having to make these changes."

Most of the affected flights were coming from Dallas/Fort Worth, where Seymour said they canceled flights "proactively" due to stormy weather, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Austin's canceled flights make up about 5% of the total.

This is not a new problem for the airline industry: American Airlines had to cancel around 1,000 flights in July and Southwest Airlines has done the same, reportedly due to weather and air traffic control issues. As of Sunday, five Southwest flights have been canceled and 17 delayed.

As for the staffing issues, American Airlines officials said that 1,800 flight attendants are returning from pandemic leave by Dec. 1 and the company has plans to hire pilots, airplane maintenance technicians and 600 new attendants before the end of the year.

To keep up with the canceled flights, click here.

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