Tuesday saw 33 canceled flights by Alaska Airlines, which has been plagued with cancellations and delays for several days, a problem the company says is the result of pilot shortages. Tens of thousands of passengers have been inconvenienced by delayed and canceled flights.
Alaska Airlines isn’t the only commercial carrier to have a pilot shortage, but it’s being hit harder than most other airlines at the same time the union that represents pilots has been picketing in front of the airports in Anchorage, Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco. The union and the company have been negotiating for three years and the union is now upping the ante.
Wednesday is looking the same for the Seattle-based company that serves traveling Alaskans, with 20 cancelations already across the company.
Some customers are reporting they’re on hold for as long as 10 hours on the Alaska customer service line.
According to an internal memo from the company, it’s a pilot shortage, rather than shortages of other crew or ground personnel.
“Our operational performance today was below the level many of us expect,” Capt. John Ladner, vice president of flight operations, said in an email on Friday, according to The Seattle Times. “The primary driver for our performance right now is the shortage of pilots we have available to fly versus what was planned when we built our April schedule in January.”
Alaska Airlines is offering 150% pay to pilots who are willing to pick up extra shifts.