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Airlines Have Stopped Service to These 5 U.S. Cities. Now It’s Harder to Get to Them

Airlines are cutting routes citing pilot shortages.

Airlines in the U.S. continue to cancel flights due to pilot shortages and rising fuel prices. But the biggest losers here are the passengers from small communities who are losing connectivity as airlines pull out of their towns. It means that they have to drive longer distances to bigger airports, which adds up to higher costs for fuel, parking, and tickets. If they have one or two airlines still flying out of regional airports, they’re paying more for tickets because of a lack of competition (read: monopoly) and slim pickings. 

In the past few years, American, United, and Delta have all cut flights to regional areas, and many have parked their small planes because there is no profit margin. According to CBS News, 42 markets have lost one-third or half of their air service in the last three years, and more are likely to see planes disappear from their skies.

According to the Regional Airline Association, 188 communities have lost up to 25% of their departures. Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines, said in November last year, “We don’t have enough pilots to fly all the airplanes, so the 50-seaters are at the bottom of that pile, and markets that rely on 50-seaters are the ones that are going to lose service.”

These are just a handful of small towns that have become a casualty of the problems that are ailing the aviation industry.

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This June, American Airlines announced that it’s cutting flights to Islip and Ithaca in New York and Toledo in Ohio from September 7. While the cities in New York are still served by other major airlines, Toledo doesn’t have any United or Delta flights either. People will have to depend on Allegiant Air for its handful of routes or drive to Detroit, which is an hour away.

American has reduced its regional flights considerably due to a lack of staff and has grounded 100 regional jets.

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American Airlines is also stopping its service to Dubuque. Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce CEO & President Molly Grover said in a statement, “We are incredibly disappointed to learn of American Airlines’ decision to depart Dubuque. Unfortunately, this is the current trend in the aviation industry, and regional airports are taking the brunt of the impact.”

As American was the only commercial airline servicing the airport, the residents of the county will have to drive down to Chicago, three hours away, to connect to the world. There are also charter flights that Sun Country Airlines operates out of Dubuque.

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WHERE: Nebraska

In January this year, Delta suspended flights to Lincoln indefinitely. Now the airport has just United touching down on its runway. Delta also exited other regional markets and made major cuts to its routes. It has trimmed its summer schedule to better manage labor shortages and disruptions and said in a release, “This is meant to build additional resilience in our system and improve operational reliability for our customers and employees; we’ll continue proactively adjusting select flights in the coming weeks.”

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Twin Falls

WHERE: Idaho

In November 2021, United announced that it was dropping 11 cities from its network because the regional flights were unsustainable. Among them was Twin Falls, whose Magic Valley Regional Airport just has one Delta flight every day to and from Salt Lake City. 

This summer, United has cut 29 more cities, explaining that its contractor SkyWest doesn’t have enough pilots to run these routes. In the most recent setback for small communities, the airline has also stopped flights to Texarkana, Texas, and Flagstaff, Arizona.

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New Haven

WHERE: Connecticut

American Airlines exited New Haven last year, so Tweed New Haven Airport has just one operator servicing its residents: newly-launched, low-cost Avelo Airlines. The other options for residents are airports in New York and New Jersey, which are more than 80 miles away.

stevemarcus9510 July 22, 2022

For New Haven it's unique. Definitely a loss with AA leaving and their national network but when they left we had just 1 daily flight. Now with Avelo, New Haven has 14 daily nonstop flights including to Chicago, BWI, Nashville, Orlando, and Raleigh.

kerenwarner2726 July 22, 2022

I would like to point out that people in the New Haven, CT area also have the option of Bradley Int'l Airport in Hartford.  About 50 miles so quite doable.

JuveJay July 22, 2022

As a resident of New York's northern suburbs, I have to drive an hour and a half to get to JFK or EWR, so driving an hour from Toledo to Detroit doesn't seem unreasonable. Also, New Haven residents can drive just 54 miles to Hartford's Bradley International which is much closer than the NYC metro airports.

mlenss July 21, 2022

First, thank you for the coverage on a topic that needs more light shined on it. The pilot shortage is VERY real. 
Specific to the Dubuque (DBQ) story, Dubuque is 76 miles from the Eastern Iowa Airport (CID). CID is home to five airlines and 17 nonstop cities. Dubuque residents do not need to drive three hours to ORD.