American Airlines grounded more than 37,000 hours of flight operations that month after claiming a computer error over the weekend of July 4th. The airline and its union reached an agreement on Wednesday that offers those using an affected flight three times the normal wage.
“Flights affected are those that were removed and then non-contractually added to pilots’ flight schedules in July,” the Allied Pilots Association emailed members on Wednesday. “APA steadfastly maintains that management had no right to add travel [back] to the pilots’ flight plans.”
While American Fox News Digital had previously said that the pilot planning system had a “technical error” and that the same day “the vast majority of affected trips were restored,” the union has argued that automatically adding the flights back to pilots’ flight plans breaches their legal contract.
“The failure of the IT system ultimately falls to management,” said APA Communications Chairman Cpt. Dennis Tajer told Fox News Digital on Thursday. “It was her fault. That was something that was under their supervision.”
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“After the mistake happened, they reacted aggressively and placed [dropped trips] everything back on the pilots’ flight plans,” Tajer continued. “It was not only a breach of their contract, but also of trust in a business partnership. They can’t. It is not allowed.”
“Unfortunately for [American]the worst part was when they decided to reset all those trips 12 hours later,” an American Airlines first officer and APA member told Fox News Digital, “which is a pretty blatant violation.”
The 55-year-old first officer, who asked not to be identified, said some of his colleagues were not “thrilled” with the 200% bonus deal reached on Wednesday, which also includes a new permanent double holiday bonus for pilots.
“I heard rumors everywhere that they were hacked,” said the union member. “I think it was probably someone just pushing the wrong button.”
“I see people saying they want to go before a judge and do something about it,” he continued. “I think the company was like, ‘Well, we’re going to break the contract en masse’… it’s just kind of hard to believe they thought they could do that, but they did.”
The “fiasco,” as the APA called it in its email, happened like this thousands of flights have already been delayed or canceled during one of the busiest travel times as airlines struggle with staffing shortages.
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“We have solutions that will restore confidence in American Airlines’ reliability. Mr. [Robert] Isom has shown willingness to listen to us. What comes next is up to him,” said Tajer. “Give us another week with the same kind of 24/7 engagement. We can get the whole [schedule] Thing done in a week, easy. It’s not about the problems. It’s a question of how urgent you are to fix this? We can’t continue to be in the headlines for the wrong reasons.”
In a statement to Fox News Digital on Thursday, an American Airlines spokesman said, “We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the APA and appreciate their partnership in coming to a resolution quickly to take care of our pilots, our team and to take care of our customers.”
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FOX Business’ Andrew Miller contributed to this report.