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Airlines like American and Southwest desperately need more workers to avoid a cancellation catastrophe during the upcoming busy holiday travel season.

American Airlines said on Saturday it has canceled more than 1,400 flights over the weekend due to staff shortages and unfavorable weather.

The U.S. airline said it canceled 551 flights on Saturday, 480 flights on Sunday, in addition to 376 flights canceled on Friday. FlightAware, a flight tracking site, said American had also delayed more than 1,000 flights since Friday.

“With additional weather throughout the system, our staffing begins to run tight as crew members end up out of their regular flight sequences,” the airline said in a statement.

The company said it expected to get through this period of irregular operations soon.

Heading towards the busy holiday travel season, carriers are working to hire more employees.

American Airlines said it is increasing its staffing across all operations, with nearly 1,800 flight attendants returning from leave and more than 600 newly hired flight attendants coming on board by the end of December.

Southwest also said it was hiring aggressively, with the aim of having about 5,000 new employees by the end of this year.

Earlier this month, Southwest canceled nearly 2,400 flights over a three-day period, blaming unfavorable weather and air traffic issues in Florida.

(Reporting by Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru, additional reporting by David Shepardson in Washington Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

This article was written by Maria Ponnezhath from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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Tags: american airlines, cancellations, coronavirus recovery, southwest airlines

Photo credit: American Airlines is the latest airline to say staffing shortages and bad weather sparked a massive wave of flight cancellations. Russell Lee (Aero Pixels) / Wikimedia

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