American Airlines CEO Confides They Are Facing Troubling Times

Commercial airlines continue to struggle this summer, even as the travel season approaches full swing.  Complications of returning out of the pandemic coupled with supply chain restraints and staffing problems mean, unfortunately, there is not an easy fix in sight.

American Airlines, for example, is facing several of these issues. On an earnings call last week, American Airlines CEO Robert Isom expressed to investors how much the company is struggling, daily, to provide the simple amenities passengers have come to expect.

Every day, he laments, they are having trouble in so many ways.  For example, “Pilots are one piece,” he says, but “there’s not a day that goes by where we don’t have issues with provisioning our aircraft with pillows, blankets, plastic cups, food. At various times, we have issues with fueling.”

The pilot shortage is definitely a big part of it, as just a week ago the air carrier grounded 100 regional planes because they did not have enough pilots to operate them. To get these personnel back to work, American agreed to exceed the original pay rate hike for 14,000 of these pilots.

Isom goes on to say, “It’s just a myriad of things that all have to come together to put an aircraft in the air. And yes, the supply chain for aircraft parts is one thing that we monitor closely. But it’s all these other things that we really are dependent on so many other parts of the system.”

Apparently, this is not just affecting American Airlines. The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), a union that represents another 14,000+ pilots at industry rival United Airlines, recently approved a tentative agreement that would honor a pay raise of 14.5 percent over an 18-month period.  The contract includes other benefits as well.