Tuesday, February 9, 1999

cancels 2 more
isle flights

Passengers continue to be
funneled to other airlines as
the pilot dispute drags on

By Russ Lynch


American Airlines canceled two of its Hawaii round-trip flights today, the second day of local cancellations, as a slowdown by its pilots forced it to cut nearly one-third of its 2,250 daily flights across the nation.

Cut as of early this morning were American's daily flight from San Francisco to Honolulu and its daily Los Angeles-Honolulu flight. Also scrapped were the return flights to the mainland on those routes.

That is one-third of American's daily Hawaii service, leaving four round-trip flights intact, two between Dallas and Honolulu, one Chicago-Honolulu and one Los Angeles-Maui.

The airline is advising customers who aren't sure about their flights to check with reservations, either in Honolulu at 833-7600 or at 1-800-433-7300. If they know the flight number, they can get details on the Internet at www.americanair.com, under "gates and times."

Hawaiian Airlines Inc. scheduled an extra Honolulu-San Francisco flight for this afternoon to take care of those displaced by American's cancellation on that route. American said its Los Angeles passengers have been accommodated on other airlines.

Hawaiian works closely with American, carrying its passengers between the islands under a code-share arrangement and sharing frequent-flier plans. It also leases its DC-10 jets from American.

All passengers from the three round-trip flights American canceled yesterday -- Honolulu-Dallas, Honolulu-San Francisco and Maui-Los Angeles -- apparently made it to the mainland on other airlines, said Stephanie Welch, American's regional sales manager for Hawaii.

Yesterday American scrapped about 500 flights, including three Hawaii round-trips out of its daily total of 2,250. By late morning it had canceled 730 flights today. Another 40 flights may be canceled, depending on how many pilots call in sick or decline overtime, American said.

The airline's pilots have been calling in sick or refusing to work overtime because of gripes related to parent company AMR Corp.'s December acquisition of Reno Air.

American's pilots say the company should integrate Reno pilots into its roster more quickly, thereby moving people up on the pay scale.

Reno pilots, on the other hand, are unhappy that American pilots plan to "staple" them on to the bottom of the seniority list.

The pilots' union at American, the Allied Pilots Association, has not officially endorsed a sickout, but is urging its members to consider whether emotions from the bickering would affect their ability to safely pilot a jet. That apparently prompted the unusually large number of cockpit crew members who say they are "unfit to fly."

Negotiations over the integration of Reno Air's pilots into American broke off Friday.

The sides plan to resume talks today after Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR said it may seek a court injunction to end the protest.

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