According to American Airlines, it could take up to three years to restore nationwide service to full capacity.

Due to an ongoing pilot shortage, American Airlines said Thursday that it could take up to three years to get back to full, nationwide capacity.

Customers are flying more than ever, but supply chain and staffing shortages worsened as a direct result of the pandemic, CEO Robert Isom said in a conference call with investors.

As a result, Isom estimated that it will take about a year to restore flight capacity on its main routes. When it comes to resolving this issue, “I think it depends on supply chains for aircraft manufacturers and ultimately, pilot supply,” the CEO stated.

American Airlines’ regional routes, on the other hand, will be more difficult to manage.

There may be a delay of two or three years in getting the supply chain for pilots back to where it needs to be from a regional perspective, according to Isom.

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Despite what he called a record number of passengers, American Airlines CFO Derek Kerr said the airline flew with an 8.5% lower passenger capacity in the second quarter of this year than in the same period in 2019. On top of a 12.2% increase in revenues, the airline made its first quarterly profit since the beginning of the pandemic.

Passengers who paid record fares for airfare only to be met with delays, cancellations, and lost luggage on every turn have been experiencing what some have dubbed “airmageddon” this summer.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has called on Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to take action as a result of this. There should be compensation for delays of more than an hour, alternative transportation for those who have to wait for up to four hours, and meals and lodging if they have to stay longer, according to Sanders.

Airlines should be fined if flights are delayed by more than two hours or if they are scheduled with inadequate staffing, according to Sanders’s recommendations.

Passengers whose flights are delayed can already take advantage of a variety of perks provided by the majority of major airlines.

Despite the difficulties, Buttigieg has met with airline executives.

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Pre-pandemic airline staffing and capacity issues exist. The airline industry predicted several years ago that it would require many more planes and pilots in order to accommodate what it expected to be an increase in the number of passengers taking flights.

Planes were grounded, orders for new planes were put on hold, and travel restrictions were implemented as a result of the pandemic.

While planes were grounded and thousands of airline employees, including pilots and flight attendants, retired or received buyouts, the government provided billions of dollars to keep airlines afloat, resulting in what is now an industry-wide employee shortage.

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