American Airline’s pilot scheduling glitch could cost $10 million

The fallout from American Airline’s pilot scheduling glitch could cost the company $10 million.

The figure comes from a recent JPMorgan report estimating the total price of the airline’s decision to double pay for pilots who have offered to fill in around the December holidays.

Last week, the Allied Pilots Association, which represents American Airlines pilots, revealed that thousands of holiday flights were without pilots because a system scheduling error had accidentally given too many employees time off in December.

To fix the problem, American and the union negotiated a pay increase for pilots who offered to fly the unassigned flights. American and the union have said no flights will be canceled.

The APA said on Sunday that those employees who will be piloting flights affected by the glitch will make 200% wages — an increase from the 150% discussed earlier.

“We’ve reached an agreement that we believe will ensure that our customers’ holiday travel plans are not disrupted while also recognizing our pilots’ extra efforts to help resolve this challenge,” the APA said.

JPMorgan airlines analyst Jamie Baker wrote in the report that “initially, we were somewhat disappointed by the 200% headline.”

“After all, the existing contract affords management the discretion to pay 150% for these types of events,” he said.

Ultimately, however, Baker concluded that the decision to double pilots’ pay could stave off bad press and passenger anxiety, adding that the “difference between a 150% and a 200% pay rate [is] sufficiently immaterial.”

Baker reached the $10 million figure by estimating pilot pay in December as a percentage of American’s quarterly wages and benefits and determining that about 1,500 flights will be flown by pilots making 200% pay.

Helane Becker, an airline analyst for Cowen, was harsher on the decision. She wrote on Monday that the move “created no goodwill for American as in our view the union continues to take advantage of their company.”

American Airlines said it generally does not comment on analyst reports.

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TSA officials remind passengers to not pack guns in carry-on luggage

TSA officials are reminding passengers during the busy holiday season to not pack guns in their carry-on luggage.

TSA agents across the state have already found more than 400 people trying to bring guns onto planes this year, officials said Wednesday. 

As we enter the busy holiday travel season, TSA officials want to make sure people know they could be taken to jail instead of their desired destination if they don’t check their weapons or leave them at home. 

Officials said guns, knives, a replica of a hand grenade, hatchets and ammunition are just some of the items people have tried to bring through security this year at South Florida airports.

So far this year, TSA agents have found 48 guns at Miami International Airport, 62 guns at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and 25 guns in carry-on luggage at Palm Beach International Airport.

“It’s not only disturbing, but it’s dangerous. You see the way people fling their bags onto the belt in the checkpoint, and most of the guns that we are stopping are loaded,” TSA spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said. 

The next few weeks include some of the busiest days at airports around the country as people travel for the holidays, and each time an agent has to open a bag for a questionable item, the security line slows down.

TSA officials remind passengers to double-check what’s in their bag before approaching the security checkpoint.

“We’re not sure why you need to have your hammer or some of these other items in your carry-on bag, but please keep in mind that if you come to the checkpoint with this, we will give you an opportunity to go back to your car if you parked there or go back to the airline and check the item,” Koshetz said. 

Electronics larger than a cellphone in a carry-on bag now much be taken out to be screened separately, because TSA agents said terrorists are still trying to hide explosives in electronic devices.

“We’ve always known they’ve been trying to do this with laptops, but now we know they are attempting to put explosives inside other electronic devices, smaller devices and in quantities large enough to bring down an aircraft,” Koshetz said. 

Those who are found with a gun in their carry-on luggage could be fined up to $13,000 and lose their TSA Pre-Check privileges.
 

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American Airlines employees to undergo anti-racism training

American Airlines is making employees undergo anti-racism training after the NAACP issued a “travel advisory” for the carrier in October.

Starting in 2018, everyone at the company will need to complete annual implicit bias training, the company announced Thursday.

“We are proud of the diversity and inclusion initiatives already in place at American, but we know we can do even better. So we viewed the feedback as an opportunity,” CEO Doug Parker said in a letter to staff.

The training program’s curriculum is still being developed and will be conducted both in-person and through an online module, according to a company spokeswoman.

Parker said that airline executives met with NAACP leaders earlier Thursday.

In October, the NAACP issued a warning to black fliers, urging them to be careful when flying American Airlines.

The organization said it had noticed “a pattern of disturbing incidents reported by African-American passengers, specific to American Airlines,” citing four examples of black fliers who were forced to give up their seats or were removed from flights.

The NAACP did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether Thursday’s changes adequately addressed the group’s concerns.

In addition to the implicit bias training, American is bringing in an independent firm to review its hiring practices and has pledged to overhaul its system for managing discrimination complaints.

“American Airlines can set a new standard in corporate diversity and inclusion, and we are humbled by the opportunity before us to do so,” Parker said.

— CNNMoney’s Jon Ostrower contributed reporting.

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American Airlines doesn’t have enough pilots scheduled for holiday travel

A scheduling glitch has left American Airlines without enough pilots and staff during the busy December travel period, the airline’s pilot union said on Wednesday.The Allied Pilots Association (APA) that represents pilots at the country’s largest airli…

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Bali volcano shuts down flights; residents flee to safety

Volcanic eruptions on the Indonesian resort island of Bali have prompted officials to cancel flights and move about 24,000 residents out of the way as a thick ash cloud from Mount Agung, thousands of meters high, drifts east and southeast along the archipelago.

Residents were evacuated from 224 points around the island while Lombok International Airport on Pulau Lombok, the island due east of Bali, has closed temporarily, said Ari Ahsan, spokesman for Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali.

At Ngurah Rai, Bali’s main airport, flight cancellations stranded roughly 5,500 passengers, Ahsan said.

Indonesia’s Center for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation raised its aviation notice from an orange alert to a red one Sunday.

The ash, which began spewing into the sky after Mount Agung in eastern Bali erupted three times Saturday, has reached heights of 4,000 meters (about 2.5 miles), according to Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, head of information and data for Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency.

The first eruption came around 5:30 p.m. local time (4:30 a.m. ET) Saturday, Bali’s Regional Disaster Management Agency said. More eruptions followed and continued into Sunday, with a “medium-pressure eruption” in the early evening that sent ash 2,000 meters into the air, the agency said.

By late Saturday, the volcanic ash plume had reached an altitude of 7,600 meters (4.7 miles), according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology.

The National Agency for Disaster Management issued a Level 3 alert, recommending no public activities within 6 to 7.5 kilometers (3.5 to 4.5 miles) from the peak. Anyone within that distance of the peak was advised to evacuate.

Ash fall was reported in the villages of North Duda, East Duda, Pempetan, Besakih, Sidemen, Tirta Abang, Sebudi, Bhuana Amerta in Klungkung and in some villages in Gianyar.

Masks are being distributed in Bali and Pulau Lombok.

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