Alaska Airlines cancels more flights out of Sea-Tac Airport as pilot shortage enters second week

SEATTLE — Alaska Airlines was again calling off flights Friday morning as a cancellation run driven by a shortage of pilots passed the one-week mark.

The airline, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s largest carrier, announced five new cancellations as of 6:50 a.m. Friday, bringing the total number of Friday flights canceled to 36, according to

Staffing shortages have been largely to blame for hundreds of cancellations that have delayed or stranded tens of thousands of passengers.

While pilots are in short supply across the airline industry, Alaska has been hit harder by the pilot shortage than most of its competitors. The airline, in an increasingly bitter standoff with the union representing its pilots over a new contract, has lost dozens of pilots this year to other major carriers.

Some stranded passengers reported 10-hour wait times on Alaska’s customer-service line.

In a statement Thursday, the airline apologized to passengers inconvenienced by the cancellations and reiterated that a shortage of pilots was to blame.

“The primary driver for cancellations is the shortage of pilots available to fly versus what was planned when we built our April schedule in January,” a company spokesperson said by email. “Across the industry, airlines are seeing a strain on pilot capacity as air travel demand returns, airlines are all hiring, and we are hiring faster than we’re able to hire and train new pilots.”

Alaska and the union representing its pilots have been unable to reach an agreement on a new contract for three years. The dispute is the subject of federal mediation.