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It’s no secret the pandemic has ravaged the airline industry. In April, U.S. administration agreed to give the airlines a $25,000,000,000 (yes, billion) bailout to provide some relief.
As a condition of accepting the CARES ACT bailout, US airlines agreed to maintain service to all US airports they had previously served through 30 September 2020.
Well, time is running out and airlines are assessing the routes they plan to eliminate.
AMERICAN AIRLINE CUTS
Early last week, there were rumors circulating around the web that American Airlines would be eliminating flights to 30 airports. Well this week, American Airlines announced they would be eliminating flights to 15 small cities as of October 7, 2020. Those airports include:
- Del Rio, Texas (DRT)*
- Dubuque, Iowa (DBQ)*
- Florence, South Carolina (FLO)*
- Greenville, North Carolina (PGV)*
- Huntington, West Virginia (HTS)
- Joplin, Missouri (JLN)*
- Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Michigan (AZO)
- Lake Charles, Louisiana (LCH)
- New Haven, Connecticut (HVN)
- New Windsor, New York (SWF)
- Roswell, New Mexico (ROW)*
- Sioux City, Iowa (SUX)*
- Springfield, Illinois (SPI)
- Stillwater, Oklahoma (SWO)*
- Williamsport, Pennsylvania (IPT)*
Interestingly, 9 of 15 of these airports (highlighted with *) will have no other commercial service should American Airlines depart from that airport and the remaining (6 of 15) airports only have limited and/or seasonal operations by other carriers.
The demand for flying has changed and thus the economics for operating a flight have also changed. Therefore, it’s understandable that some routes may be on the cutting block.
I found this “announcement” to be quite strange. I read a lot of airline press releases and I don’t think I’ve ever read one about cancelling a route. Generally, airlines set an end date to a route and a passenger will no longer find the flight after a specific date. It’s that simple.
In fact, if an airline released a media announcement every time they adjusted a route time or permanently cancelled the flight, it would be all we hear from the airlines. Routes are cancelled all the time.
The part that I find really interesting is:
These station suspensions will be effective Oct. 7. For now, these changes are only in place for the October schedule period, which runs through Nov. 3.
For now, these changes are only in place for the October schedule period, which runs through Nov. 3. The airline will continue to re-assess plans for these and other markets as an extension of the Payroll Support Program remains under deliberation.
In other words, the CARES ACT money runs out Oct 1, the following routes will be “eliminated” on Oct 7, but only for a few weeks (Nov 3), and then we’ll reassess.
This press release is clearly a bargaining chip to obtain more money from the government. Admittedly, I haven’t seen everything concerning the CARES ACT but, I haven’t read ANYTHING concerning additional funding – beyond the initial funds – from the CARES ACT for the airlines. Is this an attempt to fleece the government (aka taxpayers) again?
The airlines have approximately a month before they can make any changes. I am very interested to see what happens over the next few weeks concerning additional funding for the airlines and/or if there is an extension.
I expect there to reduced service to many markets but will this convince the government to provide additional funding?
What do you think about American Airlines press release?