New American Airlines CEO Robert Isom vows to trust when peak travel season begins

An American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER takes off from Sydney Airport in Sydney, Australia, October 28, 2020.

Loren Elliott | Reuters

American Airlines‘New CEO Robert Isom is aiming for one thing this summer: reliability.

The airline grew faster than its major competitors last year, and passengers have at times faced widespread disruption as a result of frequent challenges such as weather as well as shortages. Staff. Other carriersuch is Southwest Airlines and Spirit Airlines face to face similar problems that forced them to cut back on their schedule.

Now Isom, who took over the helm of America’s largest carrier on March 31, said his priority is to make sure passengers can count on Americans this summer and beyond.

“People really need to feel like they have control over their journey, and we give them control by making sure they get where they want to be on time. I couldn’t be more blunt about that.” Isom told the pilots. during the company’s town hall meeting last week, which was reviewed by CNBC. “Other airlines are really struggling.”

American’s partner in the Northeastern United States, JetBlue Airwaysfor example, earlier this month, told employees it would cut flight times in the summer by up to 10% to avoid a repeat of mass cancellations and delays, CNBC reported. America’s West Coast Code Sharing Partner, Alaska Airlinesannounced a 2% capacity cut this spring because of a pilot shortage.

Entertainment leads recovery

Air travel has skyrocketed, and passengers show they are willing to pay for tickets after two years of the pandemic, a trend that is helping carriers cover skyrocketing fuel costs. The Transportation Security Administration on Friday screened more than 2.3 million people, about 10% less than in 2019 but up 57% from a year ago.

Isom said domestic leisure tourists are making up for relatively weak international business and travel demand.

March seems to be America’s best month in its history, he said. That echoes Delta Airlines‘CEO Ed Bastian’s comment when the airline report last week. American will report first-quarter results and provide a second-quarter outlook before the market opens on Thursday.

American’s first-quarter capacity fell nearly 11 percent from the same period in 2019, it said in a filing last week. Delta, for its part, plans to tap 84% of 2019’s capacity in the current quarter, up from 83% in the first quarter.

“The priority is reliable operation,” Delta president Glen Hauenstein said on an earnings call. “If these demand trends continue, we have the opportunity to go up one more time or we could swing in a different direction if warranted.”

US carriers have arranged staff to handle the flight’s recovery. The $54 billion in federal payroll support that airlines won from Congress banned layoffs but carriers called for thousands to buy back and extend their absences.

Airlines are facing pilot shortages, especially for smaller regional airlines supplying their hubs, which has forced them to cancel flights or restrict flights. growth. Pilots from Delta, USA and Southwest selected or complained of fatigue due to a grueling work schedule in recent months.

Isom says American has the full staff of pilots, flight attendants and customer service agents to handle summer travel.

“We’ve brought the schedule to a level that matches the resources we have,” Isom told crew members.

Other challenges to growth include receiving aircraft from manufacturers, including Boeing, which has had deliveries of the 787 Dreamliner halted for most of the past year and a half because of a manufacturing defect. American said Boeing’s woes have forced it to reduce some long-haul international flights.

Minimize interruptions

The airline is also working to find ways to avoid lengthy delays that are costly to the airline and its passengers.

American has invested heavily in training and the Integrated Operations Center, a command center at its headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas, to help avoid delays.

Steve Olson, director of the IOC, said at town hall.

Olson said accountability is key, and not only measures how quickly an airline recovers from disruptions, but also determines how much of an impact it will have on the airline’s fleet, who have complained. Complaints about long schedule keeping and hotel service. Flight attendants or pilots were not on duty when bad weather added to flight cancellations and delays.

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