- American Airlines says it’s suspending service to 15 cities across the US on October 7 as federal assistance through the CARES Act is scheduled to expire.
- Secondary cities across the airline’s route network from New Mexico to Connecticut are on the chopping block, with some cities in danger of losing all air connectivity once American leaves.
- Cities served only by the American Eagle regional arm are most affected. American said the suspensions were scheduled to last through November 3 but could be extended.
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American Airlines on Thursday announced changes to its route network that see the carrier suspending service to 15 cities across the US for at least most of October. Another sign of a slow recovery for the airline industry, the announcement comes with government assistance provided through the CARES Act set to expire October 1.
Under the sweeping relief package that included billions of dollars in payroll assistance for airlines, American has been required to maintain service throughout its existing route network – even if flying few or no passengers on some flights – unless an exemption is granted by the Department of Transportation.
Secondary cities served by American Eagle – an American regional carrier – are largely affected, with some in danger of losing air connectivity altogether once the carrier halts service.
Here’s the full list of cities to which American plans to cut service beginning October 7:
- Del Rio, Texas: Del Rio will be left with no air service by any passenger carrier after losing its sole route to Dallas/Fort Worth.
- Dubuque, Iowa: Dubuque will be left with no air service by any passenger carrier after losing its sole route to Chicago.
- Florence, South Carolina: Florence will be left with no air service by any passenger carrier after losing its sole route to Charlotte.
- Greenville, North Carolina: Greenville will be left with no air service by any passenger carrier after losing its sole route to Charlotte.
- Huntington, West Virginia: Huntington will lose its route to Charlotte, leaving the low-cost carrier Allegiant Air as the city’s only airline.
- Joplin, Missouri: Joplin will be left with no air service by any passenger carrier after losing its routes to Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth.
- Kalamazoo, Michigan: Kalamazoo will lose one-third of its airlines when American stops flying there from Chicago but will lose no routes, as United also offers service from the Windy City.
- Lake Charles, Louisiana: Lake Charles will see its number of routes and cities served cut in half when American takes away its service to Dallas, leaving United Express as the sole carrier with service to Houston.
- New Haven, Connecticut: New Haven will be left with no year-round air service by any passenger carrier after losing its routes to Philadelphia and Charlotte.
- Roswell, New Mexico: Roswell will be left with no air service by any passenger carrier after losing its routes to Dallas/Fort Worth and Phoenix.
- Sioux City, Iowa: Sioux City will temporarily be without air service when American ends its routes to Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago. United is scheduled to begin service to the city from Denver on October 14.
- Springfield, Illinois: Springfield will lose one-third of its airlines and routes once American ends service from Dallas/Fort Worth. Allegiant Air and United Express will continue to serve Punta Gorda and Chicago, respectively, from the airport.
- Stillwater, Oklahoma: Stillwater will be left with no air service by any passenger carrier after losing its route to Dallas/Fort Worth.
- Williamsport, Pennsylvania: Williamsport will be left with no air service by any passenger carrier after losing its route to Charlotte.
American said in its statement that the route suspensions were scheduled for only a one-month period, from October 7 through November 3, with the possibility of an extension or cuts to more cities if demand doesn’t spring back. Its rival Delta Air Lines made similar changes to its network in June, cutting service to 11 cities in its US network. Delta did not say when, if ever, it would return to those markets.
More travellers have been taking to the skies over the summer, according to passenger numbers published by the Transportation Security Administration, but the period from Labour Day to Thanksgiving typically sees a drop-off in leisure travel that may hinder the industry’s recovery, especially if business travel does not return.
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