After grounding almost half of it’s fleet of Boeing 757 aircraft to check the clamps that hold the seats to the floor of the cabin, American Airlines’ CEO Tom Horton says “I think that’s behind us.”
“The operational performance is improving,” CEO Tom Horton said in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday. “We’ll get past this just like other airlines before us have.”
In addition to the seating issue, American saw their on-time performance drop to 59 percent in September and in that same period Delta, Southwest and U.S. Airways were all above 85 percent. The airline has blamed the delays on pilots writing up extra maintenance requests as part of a job action after American Airlines Reservations had their union contract thrown out in court and imposed new pay and work rules. The
Pilots started filing maintenance complaints, which other wise didn’t need immediate attention, sometimes minutes before the scheduled departure time causing delays.
The airline has cut flights and added reserve crews and extra planes to cover any last-minute delays. Now that the two sides are back at the bargaining table, Horton says customers should notice more on-time flights.
“Unfortunately for a couple of weeks there, it was very difficult on our customers,” he said. He said the company’s operating performance is “not yet back to the level we think our customers deserve and expect from American, but it has improved significantly since the period right after the contract rejection.”
Despite its troubles, Horton said American remains committed to safety. The airline grounded 48 of its 111 Boeing 757s last week after seats came loose on three separate flights. The airline found a fix which Horton said should prevent future problems.
“I think that’s behind us,” he said.