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Pilot labor dispute dogs American Airlines flights

Delays, cancellations hit Logan passengers

Data show that since mid-September, American has canceled 2 percent of its flights leaving Logan Airport.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Data show that since mid-September, American has canceled 2 percent of its flights leaving Logan Airport.

Delays and canceled flights have rankled American Airlines passengers in recent days, including at Logan International Airport, as a labor dispute between the embattled air carrier and its pilots wages on.

Data from FlightStats.com, which tracks airline arrivals and departures, show that since mid-September, American has canceled roughly 2 percent of its flights leaving Logan, and more than 3 percent of those landing in Boston. Typically, a 1 percent cancellation rate is considered poor. The airline has experienced a number of excessive delays, with 95 out of more than 600 inbound and outbound flights stalled for 45 minutes or more.

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Pilots involved in the labor dispute picketed outside Logan Tuesday, even as union officials with the Allied Pilots Association prepared to meet Wednesday to consider reopening contract negotiations with American.

Earlier this month, a judge overseeing the carrier’s bankruptcy reorganization allowed American to reject a collective bargaining agreement it had with pilots and instead impose deep concessions. At the end of August, the airline also signed a nondisclosure agreement with US Airways and other parties to explore strategic options, which could include a merger.

Pilots are upset over compensation, retirement security, and working conditions — especially as company layoffs, retirements, and outsourcing practices have left American short of pilots and the maintenance and mechanical crews that look after its aging planes, said Tom Hoban, a spokesman for the pilots association. The group represents 8,000 active American Airlines pilots.

As a result, Hoban said, pilots have been much more diligent about reporting potential safety problems in recent days.

“We’re going to dot our i’s and cross our t’s going forward,” Hoban said.

An American Airlines spokeswoman said the pilot actions have been disruptive.

“For the past 14 days, we have seen unprecedented pilot maintenance write-ups, many at the time of scheduled departure, which is having an impact on our operation,” spokeswoman Andrea Huguely wrote in an e-mail. “We sincerely apologize to our customers for any inconvenience this is causing. Our focus remains on getting our customers where they need to go.”

American is now the fifth-largest carrier at Logan when ranked by the number of passengers, according to the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates the airport.

In August, the airline transported 11 percent of the airport’s passengers, behind JetBlue, Delta, US Airways, and United.

Erin Ailworth can be reached at eailworth@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ailworth.
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