(Adds details on cancellations)
Oct 11 (Reuters) - American Airlines said it will cut backon passenger capacity through the first half of November,extending reductions from September and October as it canceledhundreds of flights, citing aircraft maintenance issues andpilots reporting in sick.
The carrier, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcyprotection last year, said in a memo to American managers thatit was cutting its flight schedule through the first part ofNovember by 1 percent to give it more flexibility to organizecrews and planes to return to a more normal pattern. Americansaid the move would not affect holiday travel.
"While we are experiencing improvements in several areas ofthe operation, we are not yet back to the levels our customersdeserve and expect from American," the carrier said in the memo,which was emailed to Reuters.
Spokeswoman Andrea Huguely on Thursday said American iscanceling about 31 flights a day out of about 3,500 daily tripsbetween now and mid-November. She said American canceled about400 flights since September.
American, a unit of AMR Corp , cut its flightschedule for September and October by 1 percent to 2 percent.American blamed flight disruptions on a slowdown campaign bypilots that it said was causing economic damage to the airlineand alienating passengers. Incidents in which seats cameunbolted from the floor on American flights have also raisedconcerns about the carrier.
The Allied Pilots Association union, which representsAmerican's pilots, has said it called no work slowdown againstthe carrier. But the union has stressed that pilots want abetter contract on par with those at rivals such as Delta AirLines .
Pilots voted down a concessionary contract from American inAugust. Talks on a contract resumed with the pilots union lastweek.
Robert Mann, an airline consultant in Port Washington, NewYork, said weak demand might be one factor in the latest move.
"There is undoubtedly less demand for travel in recent weeksthat we've seen," Mann said. "That would suggest that arisk-averse strategy would simply be to fly less."
(Reporting by Karen Jacobs; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick,Bernard Orr)
Keywords: AMERICANAIRLINES FLIGHTS/