The union blamed a "failure within the pilot schedule bidding system" that allowed too many pilots to request vacation during the same time period.
Faced with the prospect of sweeping flight cancellations during the busy holiday season, American Airlines said Friday that it had resolved a scheduling problem that had left thousands of flights without assigned pilots.
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Mr. Tajer said that while flights remained unassigned, the terms of Friday's agreement were expected to attract enough pilots to cover the gap. American was able to reach a deal with its pilots' union which represents the airline's over 15,000 active pilots.
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While American said Thursday that it had covered all but a few hundred trips, the union said its count early Friday showed thousands of flights scheduled for the last two weeks of the month were still missing one or both pilots.
According to the Allied Pilots Association (APA), the glitch had left more than 15,000 flights without a captain, co-pilot or both between December 17 and December 31 at dozens of airports. The agreement addresses union concerns about the company's plan to pay 1.5 times normal hourly rates to pilots willing to pick up flights in need of crews, according to a statement on the union website.
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American Airlines had stated that the issue - a clerical error, it says - has not forced them to cancel any holiday flights.