Pilots say they will staff all scheduled American Airlines flights for Christmas


American Airlines announced Friday that it had reached an agreement with its pilots union to avoid the cancellation of thousands of flights this holiday season that were left without cockpit crews due to a scheduling error.

The system failure in the pilot schedule bidding system allowed too many pilots to take time off during one of the busiest travel times of the year.

APA, which represents 15,000 pilots at American, said that the scheduling problem had resulted in around 15,000 flights without pilots during December.

The Christmas season is already a chaotic time for many people, but a computer glitch could make things even more hard for American Airlines and anyone scheduled to fly with them next month.

The two parties met Friday morning to discuss a fix for the situation. The APA, meanwhile, advised pilots not to sign on, saying that the airline's solution violated the union contract.

United States locks in duties on Canada's softwood lumber industry
The 4-0 decision comes after the US Commerce Department failed to reach an agreement in the long-running trade dispute last month. The disagreement centers on the fees paid by Canadian lumber mills for timber cut largely from government-owned land.

Both APA and American declined to detail the exact nature of the agreement, but the deal comes at a time when airlines' rising labor costs are in the spotlight.

American spent the past week giving updates about ongoing successes filling flights, and on Thursday it said most flights had already been staffed. The union said it was still "seriously concerned" about schedule disruptions.

Mr. Tajer said that while flights remained unassigned, the terms of Friday's agreement were expected to attract enough pilots to cover the gap.

American has about 200,000 flights scheduled for December and operates an average of 6,700 daily. The glitch let pilots drop scheduled flights - to take a vacation over Christmas, for example - even when there were no other pilots available for that flight.

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