American grounds mostFrom staff and wire reports
of its Hawaii service today
American Airlines canceled most of its Hawaii flights today, as it continued to cut service across the country despite a federal court's order telling disgruntled pilots to quit their sickout and go back to work.
By late morning, a flight from Dallas was in the air on the way to Honolulu and the aircaft was scheduled to take off from Honolulu Airport shortly before 7 p.m. on the return leg. American also canceled its five other scheduled Hawaii round trips. However, the airline added an unscheduled Los Angeles-Honolulu flight for this afternoon, returning tomorrow.
American was forced to cancel three Hawaii round trips Monday, two on Tuesday and four yesterday because it couldn't get enough crew to fly them. The airline said its Hawaii passengers have been accommodated on other airlines.
For the third day in a row, Hawaiian Airlines Inc. put an extra aircraft into service to carry American Airlines customers. Keoni Wagner, a spokesman for Hawaiian, said the DC-10 jet was due in from San Francisco this afternoon and would fly Honolulu-Los Angeles later in the day.
Details on cancellations are available on the American Airlines Web site, www.americanair.com, under "gates and times," and American is advising passengers to check with reservations at 833-7600 in Honolulu or 1-800-433-7300.
The airline said it canceled close to 1,100 flights today, more than the 990 that were cut yesterday, as pilots continued to stay out after calling in sick.
Tim Smith, a spokesman at American's Fort Worth headquarters, said in a taped message that the airline is "assessing to see whether the sick-call numbers are improving" as a result of yesterday's back-to-work order by U.S. District Judge Joe Kendall.
Negotiations resumed today between the pilots and the airline.
The airline estimated that 2,400 of its 9,400 pilots called in sick before Wednesday's order from U.S. District Judge Joe Kendall in Dallas to get back to work.
"When you call in sick and you're not really sick, you're a liar," the judge said. The union could be held in contempt if the sickout continued.
Allied Pilots Association president Rich LaVoy said the pilots will be advised to abide by the judge's order. But during a previous pilot sickout against American in 1990, many failed to return despite a court order.
More than 350,000 travelers have been stranded across the country and 3,500 flights canceled since Saturday as pilots, angry over the slow integration of recently purchased Reno Air, started calling in sick..
Even if the sickout ends, there will be cancellations over the next several days as the company works to get planes and crews moved to the cities where flights are scheduled, the company has said. "We will be spending the next couple of days trying to get the airline back on its feet," said John Hotard, a spokesman for AMR Corp., American's parent.