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Pilot shortage forces a 2nd day of canceled United Airlines flights

SHARE Pilot shortage forces a 2nd day of canceled United Airlines flights

CHICAGO (AP) — United Airlines canceled 80 flights at O'Hare International Airport on Sunday, a day after having to cancel more than 120 flights there because of a pilot shortage. The airline blamed the cancellations on pilots who have refused to work overtime since their contract expired in April.

United spokesman Chris Brathwaite said many of the airline's pilots had already worked all their allotted weekly hours trying to make up for flights canceled Thursday and Friday because of bad weather in the East.

The weekend cancellations involved flights to and from locations all over the country.

Since spring, United has had to cancel or delay scores of flights because of pilot shortages, and Brathwaite couldn't say when the continuing problem would be resolved. "Hopefully soon," he said.

United has about 960 flights per day at O'Hare. United and the pilots' union are negotiating a contract with a federal mediator and hope to have a new agreement in place by early September.

A spokesman for the union, the Air Line Pilots Association, did not immediately return a call for comment Sunday. In the past, the union has denied there is an organized effort to refuse overtime work. The union represents more than 58,000 pilots at 50 airlines in the United States and Canada.