American Airlines to stop flying to four smaller cities, citing pilot shortages

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American Airlines Embraer ERJ-145 regional jet seen while landing on final approach at New York JFK International Airport in New York, February 13, 2020.

Nicolas Economou | Nurphoto | Getty Images

American Airlines plans to drop service to four US cities in September, including Dubuque, Iowa, which will lose scheduled commercial air service altogether.

The Fort Worth-based carrier attributed the service cuts to a shortage of regional pilots. American, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have each reduced service between certain smaller cities and their hubs, citing a lack of airmen.

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The Four Cities – Toledo, Ohio; Islip, NY; Ithaca, NY and Dubuque – will each lose service from American on Sept. 7, after Labor Day.

“We will proactively contact customers who need to travel after this date to offer alternate arrangements,” American said in a statement.

The airports were served by regional airline subsidiaries of American Airlines. These carriers last week raised pilot wages in a bid to stem the revenue shortfall, which comes after several airlines laid off airmen during the pandemic only to be caught off guard when travel demand slumped.

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Holly Kemler, airport spokeswoman Eugene F. Kranz Toledo Express, said airport staff “are incredibly disappointed” with the U.S. decision.

“Please note that this decision was made solely by the airline, primarily due to a shortage of regional pilots,” she said. “Unfortunately, we understand that this is a current ongoing trend in the aviation industry.”

Kemler said the airport is still served by the sun-seeker-focused airline Allegiant.

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American Airlines said the cities will still be served by flights at other airports between 45 miles and 120 miles.

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