SEATTLE — The CEO of Alaska Airlines said the high level of flight cancellations since April will continue through this month.
The Seattle Times reports that Ben Minicucci said in a message to employees Thursday night that stability should return in June.
“Of the 1,200 flights we operate every day, we have canceled around 50, or around 4%. This comes at a time when flights are already full, so rebooking options are limited and many of our customers have experienced extraordinarily long wait times,” Minicucci wrote.
Passengers whose travel plans were disrupted found little help from the airline in finding alternative ways to get to their destination, with customer service phone lines citing wait times of up to ‘at 10 o’clock.
In a follow-up video message for the traveling public that was posted to YouTube Friday morning and emailed to members of the Alaska Mileage Plan, Minicucci apologized.
“I’m deeply sorry,” he said in the two-minute video. “I hear every day from friends, neighbors and guests how disruptive our flight cancellations have been.”
In his message to staff, Minicucci acknowledged that responsibility for the situation rests with management, saying he and the management team “take full responsibility.”
He said Alaska started in April and May with 63 fewer pilots than needed to keep up with the published flight schedule. Management recognized this shortage only too late.
He said the airline had centralized personnel and scheduling planning under one team and prioritized the hiring, training and recruitment of pilots, flight attendants and other work groups. .
–The Associated Press