American Airlines’ plan to cut service to 15 cities in October was perfectly reasonable…except for the fact that it was not legally permitted to cut two cities on the list. Surprise, surprise…American now says it will continue to serve those cities.
American Airlines Won’t Cut Service To Three Cities…For Now
Last week, I wrote about the announcement from American Airlines that it would suspend service after taxpayer-funded payroll support expired in October. I discussed the political nature of the cuts (they targeted several states to inflict maximum pain) and suggested that American was not really serious about cutting service to all those cities. View from the Wing went even further, though, noting that AA’s service to Joplin (JLN) and Sioux City (SUX) fell under Essential Air Service (EAS) and could not just be abandoned. Instead, AA must apply to abandon those routes and cannot do so until another carrier steps up and begins service. He also specifically questioned the cut of Roswell (ROW) since that is where American parks its 737MAX, 757, 767, and 777 aircraft, which require constant maintenance to remain airworthy.
Sure enough, American Airlines announced that it would continue service to Joplin and Sioux City…for now. It plans to ask the Department of Transportation for permission to drop service “in the absence of a Payroll Support Program extension that maintains the CARES Act service requirements.”
American Airlines will also maintain service to Roswell according to The Dallas Morning News. It cites discussions with Roswell Mayor Dennis Kintigh as ongoing. A spokesperson noted:
“In the absence of an extension of the Payroll Support Program, we’re faced with a host of difficult decisions to right-size our airline, given the significant and sustained drop in demand we’ve seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While our flights to Roswell are among those that have suffered when it comes to demand and profitability, we have been in touch with local officials and will defer our decision to suspend service to the market as those conversations are ongoing.”
But again, asking mechanics to make the six hour round-trip drive or run charter operations to Roswell probably didn’t make sense.
These flights were removed from the schedule and now have been placed back, so I expect this will stick through at least the month of October. While AA should have known better in the first place, its corrective action represents how fluid this process is. If CARES Act payroll support is not extended, expect all sorts of wrangling from American, Delta, and United over the next couple months.
image: American Airlines
Some of the Essential Air Service airports seem like a poor use of money. Johnstown and Altoona, PA seem like two examples. Both are not that far from State College or Pittsburgh or from one another. If I had business in Johnstown, I’d probably fly to PIT then rent a car. Some airports in Alaska are a different case. They are life lines.
If the US Government, Cities and local businesses can’t support the flight or flights being flown then every airline should be able to cut their losses with temporary cuts until a return to demand increases without loss of landing/takeoff slots, gates etc. Most of these flights are probably there so our pampered Politicians don’t have to drive the extra 50 miles to the next closest airport.
Are you saying, the airlines should be able to stop flying to these air poetry’s if they want to do so, but that the airport should be required to hold the airline’s landing/takeoff slots, gates, etc.? That would not be equitable. If the airlines choose to drop a city, they should take their chances.
There are no slots at such airports and the gates aren’t an issue since only one airline controls them.
No. These routes are subsidized by the government for very good reasons. You may not know them, but they exist. For example, Watertown, NY is an EAS airport because of the Fort Drum Army base. There are actual standards for being an EAS airport, objective ones.
They are just mimicking the executive branch, say intention to or commit an illegality and see what happens…
Just like a liberal to compare apples and oranges.
Seems pretty accurate to me.
Actually, it’s the other way around. This is a common corporate tactic that tue current administration uses because Trump is from the corporate world. It’s all he knows.
What’s bad is Williamsport, PA, IPT (on the cut list) just spent $16 million to revamp its terminal, on a promise from AA that service would continue. So much for AA’s word being worth anything.
Can’t blame AA if no one wants to fly to your village. Are those village leaders willing to subsidize service every month??
Williamsport is a city, not a village. Its metro area has 113,000 people in it and it’s 130 miles from PHL, the closest major airport. It’s also home to a lot of companies like Lycoming engines and Shop Vac and has a lot of gas shale drilling going on. It has no Amtrak line near it, so that airport is needed for a good reason. Its use isn’t even low. It’s just not profitable because of corporate preferences.
Matthew why don’t you complete the article by listing the cities?
Sad to see HVN on the list. Boarding numbers were rising every year and just last month AA announced it was switching HVN-PHL to HVN-CLT. Hope they return, New Haven is the largest metro area population wise out of the 15 cities. The flights I took were full or near full.
I fill like this if u can fly around in America. The borders need to be open to international flights as well. Cutting this is not helping either. This probably why people are acting out all over the world. This is a bunch of nonsense. This is nothing but a mechanism to control people. Yes true the virus exist everywhere. They are just blowing stuff all out of control! People are following guidelines how is it numbers are still rising.?Been here since last year this is nothing but some mess.