Wall street journal

 
 You will be required to read one story from the Wall Street Journal related to business strategy. The article must come from the last seven days. You must write a 1-2-page summary which includes a discussion of how the article is related to business strategy. You should also cite the reference for the article at the end of your summary. Must be from Wall Street Journal and written in the last 7 days. Please pay attention to the details. 1-2 pages single spaced.    
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American Airlines’ Flight Cancellations Are Latest to Disrupt Travel
Airlines are racing to bring back flight attendants and ground staff as well as hire pilots, but they haven’t returned to full force

By Alison SiderUpdated Oct. 31, 2021 8:56 pm ETSAVEPRINTTEXTListen to articleLength6 minutesQueue
American Airlines Group Inc. AAL 0.76% scrubbed more than 1,900 flights over the weekend, the latest in a series of cancellations to disrupt travelers’ plans, as the industry struggles to steady itself a year and a half into the pandemic.
Wind gusts late last week triggered American’s problems, slowing arrival rates at the airline’s busy Dallas-Fort Worth hub, Chief Operating Officer David Seymour told employees in a memo Saturday. The cancellations snowballed, as pilots and flight attendants weren’t in the right places for flights.
“Our staffing begins to run tight, as crew members end up out of their regular flight sequences,” he told them. On Sunday, American canceled more than 1,000 flights as of 8:30 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time—roughly 20% of its total operation and more than 36% of mainline flights.
The pattern of upsets that have left crews stranded and caused operations to unravel days later has become a familiar one for airlines.

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The cancellations by American mark the third such event for airlines since August. That month Spirit Airlines Inc. SAVE 1.72% said a confluence of factors, including bad weather and staff shortages, led it to cancel 2,800 flights over a 10-day period, costing the airline $50 million. Earlier in October, Southwest Airlines Co. LUV 1.78% canceled around 2,000 flights in a $75 million loss that the airline blamed on thin staffing that made it difficult to recover after bad weather in Florida.
As Covid-19 began spreading last year, airlines slashed flights and, to conserve cash, urged thousands of workers to retire early or take leaves of absence. They then had to rebuild their operations to catch up when passengers flocked back to airports last summer. Rebooting operations proved to be more complex than anticipated, and carriers that had hoped to capture the surging demand with ambitious schedules frequently got burned.
Airlines have been racing to bring back workers and hire pilots, flight attendants and ground staff, but they haven’t returned to full force. Lean staffing has compounded the impact of storms and technical glitches, resulting in disarray that has in some cases lasted for days.
These challenges aren’t unique to airlines. Millions of U.S. workers haven’t returned to the workforce, and labor scarcity is becoming a persistent problem in a number of industries, including hotels, restaurants and child care.
Airline executives say that positions such as pilots and flight attendants are still highly coveted, with openings attracting thousands of applicants. But there have been other shortfalls: Third-party vendors have struggled to find fuel-truck drivers and caterers, for example.
“Airlines found they overcompensated in terms of the cut they made to their fleets, to their payroll counts,” said Vik Krishnan, an aviation consultant at McKinsey & Co. “You can’t fly planes, if you don’t have people to unload the bags that are on them, or people to check you in, or people to help you board an airplane safely.”

Staffing shortages in recent months have frustrated passengers and inflamed tensions between airlines and labor unions, which have complained that airlines have scheduled more flights than they can operate, stretching employees thin.
“The fact that there is inadequate staffing to cover the operation as it is currently structured is not the fault of Flight Attendants,” the union that represents American flight attendants wrote in a message to members Saturday. The union complained of high rates of rescheduling and assignments that push flight attendants beyond monthly limits on work hours.
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The rebound, while welcome, has been confounding at times, Southwest Chief Executive Gary C. Kelly said during an earnings conference call in October. The airline faces stiff competition, as it tries to hire ramp workers and other entry-level positions in a tight labor market. Calling workers back from leaves wasn’t as smooth a process as the airline expected.
“An assumption that I made was that we were going to call them and say, ‘OK, it’s time to come back.’ They’re going to show up, and everything’s going to be just like it was, and it’s just not,” Mr. Kelly said. “For a long time, we had nothing to do. And then all of a sudden, wham, we had to pick up the pace.”
“It’s just been messy,” he said.
‘For a long time, we had nothing to do. And then all of a sudden, wham, we had to pick up the pace.’
— Southwest Chief Executive Gary C. Kelly
Mr. Kelly and other Southwest executives have said the assumptions underlying the airline’s traditional staffing models didn’t always hold up under the new conditions, leaving the airline without enough margin to insulate it from shocks. As such, weather problems in Florida, which airline officials said sparked the October meltdown, were able to throw Southwest’s operation out of whack for days.
Southwest and Spirit have both said they plan to throttle back on flying and slow planned growth in the coming months to catch up on hiring and avoid additional snafus.
Spirit CEO Ted Christie said the airline is “taking our foot off the gas here for a little bit.”
“Let’s build the base to get ready for the summer of next year,” he said during an earnings conference call last week. “It’s been a tough labor market. We’re adapting to that.”
American had also trimmed back some flights over the summer after struggling to bounce back from severe storms and said doing so helped the airline right its operation. Executives have said they believe the airline is prepared to handle a crush of holiday travel.
“The good news moving forward is that we continue to staff up across our entire operation and we will see more of our team returning in the coming months,” Mr. Seymour said in his memo Saturday. Nearly 1,800 flight attendants will return from leave starting Monday with the rest due to come back by December. The airline is also hiring more workers at airports and on reservations and maintenance teams, he said.
Write to Alison Sider at alison.sider@wsj.com
Copyright ©2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8
Appeared in the November 1, 2021, print edition as ‘American Adds to Flight Cancellations.’

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