American Airlines has cut thousands of flights from its schedule for March as covid-19, pilot shortages and delivery delays for Boeing's 787 planes hinder the recovery from the 2-year-old pandemic.
The Fort Worth-based airline has axed nearly 40,000 flights from its March plans since the middle of December, including more than 1,600 arrivals and departures out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the airline's biggest hub, according to Dallas-based Airline Data Inc.
An American Airlines spokesman confirmed the cuts and said the airline is working with passengers to make sure the changes create "minimal" problems for customers.
Other airlines, including Atlanta-based Delta and Chicago-based United, have made similar cuts in recent weeks as they face the same problems confronting American. Delta has cut about 30,000 flights for March, and United has removed 10,000.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines, which only releases schedules five to six months in advance of flights, hasn't made the same kind of flight reductions for March.
Many of American's schedule reductions came in mid-December, and the rest occurred earlier this month, the company said.
The cuts come during another key travel period -- spring break, when airports often see their biggest crowds of the year. American made similar cuts to its January and February schedules, although those months are often the weakest travel periods of the year for airlines, falling between Christmas holidays and the beginning of the spring and summer travel rush.
For Dallas-Fort Worth airport travelers, it doesn't necessarily mean that destinations from the facility are disappearing, but there will likely be fewer daily flights to cities such as Midland, Texas, and St. George, Utah. The airport is losing about 52 flights a day in March but will still see as many as 1,512 arriving and departing flights on March 8, its busiest day for flights during the spring break rush.
Airlines often make flight plans 10 or 11 months in advance, and that means making cuts or additions as covid-19 continues to make the future unpredictable, said Jeff Pelletier, co-founder of Airline Data Inc.
"It's left airlines in a wait-and-see mode," Pelletier said. "But all the airlines are getting better at balancing the unknown -- and there are a lot of unknowns right now."