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Labor Strife Threatens American Airlines Schedule

Allison Joyce/Getty Images

DALLAS (AP) — With American Airlines canceling dozens of flights every day in a dispute with its pilots, travelers may be thinking of avoiding the nation’s third-largest carrier.

A former CEO of American’s parent company, AMR Corp., says he’s sure it’s happening already. Robert Crandall, who ran American for 13 years, says every time the pilots pulled a job action, passengers jumped to other airlines.

American executives believe pilots are calling in sick and crews are slowing operations by filing huge numbers of maintenance reports to punish the company for imposing tough cost-cutting measures as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.

The union insists pilots are reporting to work as usual, and it blames the cancellations on company mismanagement and problems with old planes.

Unions for flight attendants and ground workers accepted new cost-cutting measures this year, but the 8,000 members of the Allied Pilots Association rejected the company’s last contract offer.

The airline expects to cancel up to 2 percent of its total flights through the end of October.

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