Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
American Airlines May Cut Flights to 30 'Smaller Cities'
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 4 years ago on
August 14, 2020

Share

DALLAS — American Airlines is planning to drop flights to up to 30 smaller U.S. cities if a federal requirement to continue those flights expires at the end of next month, an airline executive familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The move by American could put more pressure on Congress and the White House to give passenger airlines another $25 billion for labor costs. Airline unions and the airlines, which are struggling with a steep downturn in revenue as the pandemic undercuts air travel, are lobbying Congress for the money.

American agreed to keep serving those smaller cities as a condition of receiving $5.8 billion in federal payroll help this spring. However, the money and the requirement to serve those destinations both expire Sept. 30 unless they are extended.

The move by American could put more pressure on Congress and the White House to give passenger airlines another $25 billion for labor costs. Airline unions and the airlines, which are struggling with a steep downturn in revenue as the pandemic undercuts air travel, are lobbying Congress for the money.

American is telling the federal government that if relief money is extended, it won’t drop cities, but if the money is not extended, it will, said Brett Snyder, a travel agent who writes about the industry at CrankyFlier.com.

“This isn’t an idle threat,” and it “is going to happen at all the network carriers,” Snyder said, referring to the biggest airlines.

Other airlines declined to comment immediately on their plans. An airline trade group said carriers need help because the COVID-19 pandemic continues to damage the industry.

“Demand for air travel has not returned as anticipated,” said Katherine Estep, a spokeswoman for the group, Airlines for America. “Without additional federal aid, U.S. airlines will be forced to make very difficult business decisions, which could include announced furloughs and reductions in service.”

The requirement to preserve most routes that airlines flew before the pandemic has been unpopular with the industry because many of the flights carry few passengers. The Transportation Department declined to extend the rule past Sept. 30, and said in a statement Thursday that it will monitor the public’s access to air transportation.

The Changes Could Appear in Schedules as Early as Next Week

The American Airlines executive did not detail which cities could lose service but said some are served only by American. They are not cities whose air service is subsidized under the Essential Air Service program.

The changes could appear in schedules as early as next week if there is no progress toward more relief for airlines from Washington, the person said. The executive spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss planning that has not been made public. American’s plans were first reported by CNBC.

In March, Congress and President Donald Trump approved up to $50 billion for passenger airlines, including $25 billion in grants and loans to help cover labor costs through September.

The idea was that the virus outbreak might subside enough by fall for the airlines to stabilize on their own. However, U.S. air travel has recovered much more slowly than hoped.

After falling 95% in April, air travel in the U.S. has remained down more than 70% in August, compared with a year ago, according to Transportation Security Administration figures. Combined, the nation’s four biggest airlines — American, Delta, United and Southwest — lost more than $10 billion in the second quarter, which analysts believe will turn out to be the industry’s lowest point.

Airlines and their labor unions have been lobbying for more money to be included in a new round of pandemic relief to prevent layoffs in the industry until next April. They have lined up support from more than half the members of the House, including more than two dozen Republicans, and from more than a dozen Republican senators.

Trump spoke favorably of helping airlines when asked about the issue at a news briefing last week.

“Obviously the airline business is not doing very well,” he said. “I would be certainly in favor. We can’t lose our transportation system.”

DON'T MISS

Coalition: CA Lawmakers Need to Roll Back Proposed ‘Utility Tax’

DON'T MISS

CA’s High Construction Costs Limit Housing. A Supreme Court Decision Might Help

DON'T MISS

Now’s the Time to Register for FUSD’s Free Preschool and T-K

DON'T MISS

‘Hopeville’ Literacy Documentary Showing Tonight at Roosevelt High

DON'T MISS

Michigan Faces Probation for Football Recruiting Violations; Case vs. Jim Harbaugh Pending

DON'T MISS

What Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse Can Tell Us About the Public Domain and Remix Culture

DON'T MISS

Acquisition of Historic Fresno Real Estate Brand Creates Area’s Largest Brokerage

DON'T MISS

Wall Street’s Mixed Trading Day

DON'T MISS

It’s ‘Signing Day’ for These Clovis Unified Youngsters

DON'T MISS

Clovis Armed Robbery and Pursuit Result in 3 Arrests, 1 Suspect Still at Large

UP NEXT

New Recruiting Programs Put Army, Air Force on Track to Meet Enlistment Goals. Navy Will Fall Short

UP NEXT

Justice Thomas Misses Supreme Court Session Monday With No Explanation

UP NEXT

‘Civil War’ Declares Victory at the Box Office, Toppling ‘Godzilla X Kong’

UP NEXT

Scheffler Turns the Masters Into Another Sunday Yawner With a Dominating Win

UP NEXT

Vegas, US Tour and More Signings: Wrexham Has Plenty of Fun and Work Ahead After Latest Promotion

UP NEXT

NBA Play-in Game Preview: West Games on Tuesday, East Games on Wednesday, Eliminations on Friday

UP NEXT

Ship That Caused Bridge Collapse Had Apparent Electrical Issues While Still Docked, Source Says

UP NEXT

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

UP NEXT

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

UP NEXT

US Intelligence Finding Shows China Surging Equipment Sales to Russia to Help War Effort in Ukraine

‘Hopeville’ Literacy Documentary Showing Tonight at Roosevelt High

Local Education /

4 hours ago

Michigan Faces Probation for Football Recruiting Violations; Case vs. Jim Harbaugh Pending

5 hours ago

What Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse Can Tell Us About the Public Domain and Remix Culture

5 hours ago

Acquisition of Historic Fresno Real Estate Brand Creates Area’s Largest Brokerage

Breaking News /

5 hours ago

Wall Street’s Mixed Trading Day

5 hours ago

It’s ‘Signing Day’ for These Clovis Unified Youngsters

Local Education /

5 hours ago

Clovis Armed Robbery and Pursuit Result in 3 Arrests, 1 Suspect Still at Large

6 hours ago

Charges Against Trump and Jan. 6 Rioters at Stake as Supreme Court Hears Debate Over Obstruction Law

6 hours ago

Fresno Fire and Police Ramp up Probe Into Fires at Cemeteries

6 hours ago

New Recruiting Programs Put Army, Air Force on Track to Meet Enlistment Goals. Navy Will Fall Short

6 hours ago

Coalition: CA Lawmakers Need to Roll Back Proposed ‘Utility Tax’

A proposal to levy a fixed charge on customers of California’s big investor-owned utilities will harm low-income households, further l...

2 hours ago

2 hours ago

Coalition: CA Lawmakers Need to Roll Back Proposed ‘Utility Tax’

4 hours ago

CA’s High Construction Costs Limit Housing. A Supreme Court Decision Might Help

Local Education /
4 hours ago

Now’s the Time to Register for FUSD’s Free Preschool and T-K

Local Education /
4 hours ago

‘Hopeville’ Literacy Documentary Showing Tonight at Roosevelt High

5 hours ago

Michigan Faces Probation for Football Recruiting Violations; Case vs. Jim Harbaugh Pending

5 hours ago

What Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse Can Tell Us About the Public Domain and Remix Culture

Breaking News /
5 hours ago

Acquisition of Historic Fresno Real Estate Brand Creates Area’s Largest Brokerage

5 hours ago

Wall Street’s Mixed Trading Day

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend