American Airlines to cut service to fourth city in September

(The Hill) – American Airlines will discontinue service to Dubuque, Iowa starting Sept. 7, ending the only commercial airline’s flights from the regional airport.

The move adds a fourth city to American Airlines’ list of recent withdrawals as the company grapples with a pilot shortage, with the airline previously announcing it would also be dropping service to Toledo, Ohio; Ithaca, NY; and Islip, NY after Labor Day weekend.

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American informed the Iowa airport on Tuesday that it would be discontinuing service, an airline spokesperson and Dubuque airport manager said.

“The airport is not closed,” Dubuque Regional Airport Manager Todd Dalsing said in a statement. “We have a robust general aviation with several business and private aircraft, including the University of Dubuque.”

Dalsing noted that the airport also hosts various Sun Country Airlines events and charter flights. The airport has yet to announce whether another commercial airline will replace American, but Dalsing said staff continue to meet with traditional and low-cost carriers.

The pullback is the latest fallout after U.S. airlines and others cut millions of jobs at the height of the pandemic to cut costs.

But now travel demand is growing, with daily passenger numbers routinely exceeding 2 million at airports across the country at rates approaching pre-pandemic trends.

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Airlines have struggled to meet this growing demand, facing issues such as pilot shortages and rising fuel costs, driving up prices.

Carriers like Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines have cut their schedules this summer, and thousands of flights were canceled or delayed last weekend before Father’s Day and Juneteenth.

“American Airlines has been a longtime partner for many years in Dubuque,” Dubuque Mayor Brad Cavanagh said in a statement. “We fully understand that this is a national issue with several airlines and airports announcing cancellations and reductions in air services.”

Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), who represents Dubuque, blamed the cut on President Joe Biden.

“I am disappointed that the pilot shortage has led American Airlines to cancel service to Dubuque,” Hinson said in a statement. “The consequences of President Biden’s failed policies ripple through our entire economy and rob communities like Dubuque of opportunity. I will continue to work on common sense solutions to get our economy back on track and promote economic development in Iowa.

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