In agony during the crisis, companies are now facing unexpected demand. At the height of the situation, they have to reduce flights to avoid unpleasant surprises for passengers.
Surprised by the new airports in the United States, American airlines are busy avoiding the chaotic summer.
To better deal with the unexpected, American Airlines wants to create space for maneuvering, which has already canceled 400 flights over the weekend, and plans to fly 950 in the first half of July.
It also acknowledges that some subcontractors lack manpower if the company blames bad weather for disrupting flight plans since early June.
Faced with “incredibly fast” acceleration of demand, it has decided to withdraw some flights to “mitigate (bad) surprises at airports” and reduce the risk of unhappy passengers.
Like other companies, the American must inspect its aircraft to ensure the safety of its aircraft, while some aircraft remain stationary in hangars or dorms for several months.
“There’s a lot of maintenance,” insists Ian Kendler, a value-added company. And “It’s not going to happen overnight.”
Delta hires a thousand pilots for the summer
The spokesman explains that the American, who claims to take good care of his equipment, is “actively” recruiting in all fields through maintenance from booking to customer service. He said all temporarily inactive pilots should have completed their training by the end of June.
Delta plans to hire more than 1,000 pilots next summer to deal with the resumption of traffic and the addition of seats, according to an AFP consultation.
But Gary Peterson, who represents flight attendants in the TWU union, said rapid recruitment would not be enough, from flight attendants to luggage handlers and mechanics.
This is because, for employees who are new to airports, it is necessary to take fingerprints, check – security duties – the forerunners of government agencies, often reducing themselves to less staff and health precautions.
Gary Peterson, a mechanic at American Airlines, laments that companies that have multiplied plans for early retirement or voluntary departure during epidemics are “re-employing without manpower to operate aircraft.”
Most travelers eventually have to go there, he says, as the situation gradually improves.
However, the union representative warned that companies would “face problems all summer” if they did not limit flights.
According to airport officials, the number of people passing through an American airport is still 25% below its 2019 level, although since June 11 it has usually exceeded 2 million visitors.
Companies have opened up a number of lines to suit customers looking for tourism rather than business travel. So, before the outbreak, Delta Pilots Association member Chris Rickins assures him that “at this point, we really don’t see a difference with summer.”
Find labor and fill the planes
Although his company plans to hire him, he explains that hiring thousands of pilots for a new type of aircraft can take anywhere from a few days to five weeks to improve.
Like catering or sales, airports can also be faced with labor shortages at very low wages: those responsible for preparing dishes, maintaining premises or working on fast food.
“Demand is generally predictable,” he says. But as sales of airline tickets plummeted in the spring of 2020 and traffic quickly recovered as vaccines progressed, “traditional programming models no longer work”.
However, beyond the risk of reducing themselves to manpower, companies need to ensure that aircraft are adequately filled. “The fixed costs associated with an aircraft are the same, whether it is packed or not,” he recalled.