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American Airlines Cancelling 300 Flights This Week For Sick Pilots, Maintenance

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Due to sick pilots and an increase in maintenance reports, American Airlines plans to cancel 300 flights this week. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Due to sick pilots and an increase in maintenance reports, American Airlines plans to cancel 300 flights this week. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

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DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines and American Eagle say they will cancel 300 flights this week to cope with a high number of pilots reporting sick and an increase in maintenance reports filed by crews.

That’s 1.25 percent of the 24,000 flights that were scheduled by the two airlines, which are owned by AMR Corp.

The two airlines had already canceled 249 flights this week by Wednesday afternoon, a flight-tracking service said, suggesting that cancellations might far exceed American’s estimate.

AMR said Wednesday that it canceled the flights in advance to avoid inconveniencing passengers. Earlier this week, American said it would cut its schedule through the end of October by up to 2 percent.

American has seen an increase in flight cancellations since early this month, when a federal bankruptcy judge allowed the company to impose new pay and work rules on pilots. The pilots had rejected the company’s last contract offer in August.

Each day this week, American has canceled more flights than any U.S. airline, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.

By late Wednesday afternoon, American and Eagle had canceled 73 flights, more than the next five airlines combined. They canceled 104 flights on Tuesday and 72 flights on Monday, FlightAware said.

In a note to operations managers, American said it was telling frequent fliers why it’s been experiencing cancellations and delays. It is letting customers fly standby for earlier flights at no extra charge, and giving crews more leeway to hand out light snacks to delayed passengers.

The company said it’s also offering overtime and adjusting work schedules for reservations and airport employees, and is moving maintenance crews to where they are needed most.

AMR is trying to slash annual labor costs by about $1 billion as it reorganizes under bankruptcy protection. Eight of its nine union labor groups ratified cost-cutting contracts, with pilots the lone holdout.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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