JPMorgan: Pilot scheduling mix-up could cost American $10M

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A prominent airline analyst says American Airlines will pay about $10 million to fix the pilot-scheduling mix-up that left thousands of unstaffed flights around Christmas.

J.P. Morgan Chase analyst Jamie Baker issued the estimate Monday. American didn’t comment immediately.

Related: American says it has found pilots for most Christmas flights

American reached a deal late last week to pay pilots double wages for working some flights that were short-staffed after an error in the crew-scheduling system let pilots drop assignments even if no backups were available.

Baker says the settlement will deflect bad publicity and passenger concern over possible flight cancelations. He’s even slightly raising his estimate of American’s fourth-quarter earnings per share based on strong ticket demand.

Related: American Airlines doesn’t have enough pilots scheduled for holiday travel

Other analysts are downplaying impact of the mistake too. Helen Becker of Cowen is criticizing the pilots’ union for publicizing the scheduling error.

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