American's flight plan gets back on schedule

With a growing number of American Airlines pilots reporting for duty, airline officials think they can resume regular service this week.

"We're just glad they are coming back and we hope by the end of the week to be in business as usual here," said American spokeswoman Sonja Whitemon, adding that 100 percent service was possible by today.

However, about 231 flights scheduled for yesterday were canceled because not all of the pilots were immediately available for flying.

More than half a million travelers have been left at the gate by the nation's second-largest airline since Feb. 6. That's when a large number of pilots started calling in sick in a dispute concerning how quickly American should integrate the pilots from recently purchased Reno Air into its own roster.

According to American, pilots have been taking themselves off the sick list since a federal judge held the Allied Pilots Association and two board members in contempt of an order that pilots return to work.

Nearly 6,000 flights have been canceled since the work action began, costing American between $67 million and $90 million. Despite the continued cancellations, most of the nation's airports were calmer Sunday. But many travelers remained angry.

"I think I lost two to three years off my life," said Luis Delgado, a furniture exporter who faced delays in three cities over four days on his way home to the Dominican Republic.

US District Judge Joe Kendall said he would decide Wednesday how much to levy in fines. Negotiations on the Reno pilot issue are scheduled to restart this afternoon.

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