Update: There are about 200,000 American Airlines flights scheduled in December and thus far "only a few hundred are currently unassigned to pilots," the airline said, according to an update provided to CIO Dive. The airline is using the "reserve pilots on hand" to compensate for the peak travel time. American Airlines has not yet cancelled any flights.
- American Airlines is facing a pilot scheduling flaw that will potentially impact 15,000 flights scheduled between Dec. 17 and Dec. 31, reports Bloomberg. The airline said it will resolve the issue before having to cancel flights.
- The shortage is a result of a computer glitch that gave the impression flights had the staff needed. The airline has since fixed the glitch but is still tasked with resolving the scheduling issue.
- "We have reserve pilots to help cover flying December, and we are paying pilots who pick up certain open trips 150% of their hourly rate," according to an American Airline statement provided to CIO Dive. The airline maintains they are working with the APA to "ensure we get our customers where they need to go over the holidays."
The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for airlines, and they cannot afford a glitch. The IT failure is threatening the holiday plans of American Airline customers, but such IT failures are not uncommon in the flight industry.
For example, in September, more than 100 airports around the globe were delayed due to a malfunction in a self-service system. But these issues are the reasons airlines are taking on digital transformation and placing CIOs at the forefront of smoothly running the business.
Still, only about 2.7% of airline revenue goes to IT compared to the average 5% provided by other industries.
Even brief outages have the potential of disrupting an airline's operations. To avoid damages, more airlines are starting to adjust and go beyond their own IT platforms for the sake of management and customer experience.
Airlines including Virgin and United are tapping into Big Data and ML for analytics and predictions. Typically, this indicates further reliance on cloud-based technologies. Southwest Airlines brought on a new CIO with plans to spend about $300 million on operation tech and $500 million on a new reservation system.