American Airlines Group had announced Thursday that it will temporarily halt operations on 15 small cities across the country. The decision will start this October. This comes as the aviation industry suffers from the blow of the pandemic, with the carrier also encountering low demand and bleeding millions of dollars in cash. Moreover, the federal directive to the airline of operating in those areas is about to expire.
This is an attempt for American Airlines to save costs with the current low volume of passengers. Per CBS, the carrier mentioned in May its plans of reducing management lineup by 30 percent. They might also furlough about 25,000 employees by October. In the latest quarter, the airline lost over $2 billion.
Many airlines are also relying on the federal assistance provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The measure dedicated $50 billion from taxpayer money to help the commercial carriers
However, it also compels the recipients to prevent halting operations to the markets they originally serve. And the CARES Act is set to conclude this September 30.
The move to remove the 15 cities from their operations will take effect on October 7. The removal of markets is for the scheduled period only, which will end on November 3. No decision yet was announced if the operations would resume beyond the period.
American Airlines will temporarily stop flying routes to 15 small cities across the United States in October, signaling that some areas could wind up underserved as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate the travel industry. https://t.co/YMDpjzaJw9
— CNN Business (@CNNBusiness) August 21, 2020
The company will reevaluate if there is a need to operate, and the final October schedule will be announced by this month’s end. The cities that the carrier would not service per their press release are the following:
- Del Rio, Texas
- Dubuque, Iowa
- Florence, South Carolina
- Greenville, North Carolina
- Huntington, West Virginia
- Joplin, Missouri
- Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Michigan
- Lake Charles, Louisiana
- New Haven, Connecticut
- New Windsor, New York
- Roswell, New Mexico
- Sioux City, Iowa
- Springfield, Illinois
- Stillwater, Oklahoma
- Williamsport, Pennsylvania
The company also stated: “This is the first step as American [Airlines] continues to evaluate its network and plans for additional schedule changes in the coming weeks.”
The air travel sector is definitely hit hard by the pandemic. This is with many carriers losing cash every day with the health crisis dragging on and air travel seeing fewer demand. Experts are estimating a $20 billion revenue loss for domestic carriers this year. Globally, the figure could balloon to $84 billion, per International Air Transport Association.