American Airlines Strands Passengers in 15 U.S. Cities


American Airlines will suspend service to 15 cities by October 7th. Some of the cities will be left with no airline service at all. Government assistance from the CARES Act will expire on September 30th.

American Airlines provided a statement that said the suspension of their routes would be for only one month. The potential exists, however, that the airline’s suspensions will be extended, or include additional cities.

Delta Airlines made similar cuts to its routes in June, which involved 11 cities.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) published a report showing that the number of airline passengers increased over the summer. However, passenger travel is expected to take its usual dip between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

Here are the cities where American Airline services will cease:

Springfield, Illinois
Lake Charles, Louisiana
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Del Rio, Texas
Huntington, West Virginia

The following cities will lose all air travel services, since American Airlines was the only airline to provide airline travel services:

New Haven, Connecticut
Dubuque, Iowa
Sioux City, Iowa
Stillwater, Oklahoma
Joplin, Missouri
Roswell, New Mexico
Greenville, North Carolina
Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Florence, South Carolina

In most of the 15 cities, the next closest airport is 45-90 miles away. In the case of Roswell, the closest airport is Albuquerque, a three-hour drive away.

“This is the first step as American continues to evaluate its network and plans for additional schedule changes in the coming weeks,” American Airlines said in a prepared statement.

American Airlines was the largest recipient of the $50 billion in cash and low-interest loans to U.S. airlines. They received $10.7 billion.

In return, airlines had to meet two condition. They could not furlough employees and they had to continue serving the same destinations they did before the pandemic. Both of those conditions expire on September 30th, one week before the airline discontinues service to the 15 cities.

An American Airlines executive noted that the failure of Congress to pass another stimulus package played a large part in their decision to suspend services to the affected cities, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. The airline lost more than $2 billion in the last quarter.

American Airlines said their decision could affect 25,000 employees, while United Airlines has already sent notices to 36,000 workers. The total number of workers who will lose their jobs will depend on how many choose to take buyouts, early retirement, or long-term leave.

There’s no word on how many travelers will be affected or left stranded.

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