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American is cutting 3 more US cities, bringing pandemic-era total to 18 market exits

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Times aren’t getting any better for small U.S. cities, as they continue to bear the brunt of pandemic-era airline network changes.

The latest move comes from American Airlines. The carrier is pulling out of the following three U.S. cities this spring (at a yet undisclosed date):

  • Columbus, Georgia.
  • Del Rio, Texas.
  • Long Beach, California.
cirium map
American’s three city cuts. CIRIUM

When American pulls out of Del Rio, it’ll leave the Texas city without any commercial airline service. Historically, American Eagle affiliate Envoy Air has flown to Del Rio from American’s mega-hub at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).

Delta Air Lines serves the western Georgia city of Columbus while Delta, Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest Airlines serve Long Beach. It’s possible that American’s competitors might backfill some of this lost connectivity with additional flights in the coming months.

American has previously flown to Columbus from Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT) and DFW; it has flown to Long Beach from DFW and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).

American plane

All three cities were recently served by American’s regional affiliates — not mainline jets.

In a statement confirming the city cuts, an American spokesperson shared:

“In response to the regional pilot shortage affecting the airline industry and soft demand, American Airlines has made the difficult decision to end service in Columbus, Georgia (CSG), Del Rio, Texas (DRT) and Long Beach, California (LGB) this spring. We’re extremely grateful for the care and service our team members provided to our customers in these cities, and are working closely with them during this time. We’ll proactively reach out to customers scheduled to travel to offer alternate arrangements.”

These three affected cities join a growing list of 65 domestic airports that have lost service by one of the big three U.S. airlines (American, Delta and United) during the pandemic, according to Cirium schedules and analysis performed by aviation consulting firm Ailevon Pacific.

All these station exits come at a time when major airlines have been facing staffing shortages, particularly in their pilot ranks. The pilot shortage has been especially challenging for regional affiliates that have historically served as stepping stones for budding aviators looking to jump-start their careers and eventually work at major U.S. carriers.

American plane

Airlines are working hard to develop a pipeline of future pilots, but the shortage isn’t something they can fix overnight. In cases such as this, the shortage has resulted in carriers pulling out of small cities.

Of the big 3 U.S. airlines, United has garnered the most headlines for a major pullback in regional connectivity — now at 36 markets nationwide. That said, American has now pulled out of 18 cities since the pandemic began, and you’ll find the full list at the bottom of this post.

American’s 18 city cuts during the pandemic

Below are all the U.S. cities that American has exited during the pandemic, according to Cirium and Ailevon Pacific data:

  • Arcata/Eureka, California.
  • Cheyenne, Wyoming.
  • Columbus, Georgia.
  • Del Rio, Texas.
  • Dubuque, Iowa.
  • Duluth, Minnesota.
  • Hattiesburg/Laurel, Mississippi.
  • Islip, New York.
  • Ithaca, New York.
  • Joplin, Missouri.
  • Long Beach, California.
  • Meridian, Mississippi.
  • New Haven, Connecticut.
  • New Windsor, New York.
  • Oakland, California.
  • Sioux City, Iowa.
  • Toledo, Ohio.
  • Williamsport, Pennsylvania.