Fort Worth-based American Airlines after Labor Day will end service to three U.S. cities due to staffing shortages, it was first reported by the Dallas Morning News.
Specifically, it involves a “regional pilot shortage” and the affected cities are Toledo, Ohio; Ithaca, New York; and Islip, New York. Service to those cities is slated to end Sept. 7.
Some of the cited reasons for the pilot shortage include retirements and buyouts during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, air travel is up significantly across the country and schedules have ramped back up.
“We’re extremely grateful for the care and service our team members provided to our customers in Islip, Ithaca and Toledo, and are working closely with them during this time,” a spokesperson said in an email to political news website The Hill.
Just last Thursday, in the eastern U.S., airlines canceled more than 1,700 flights, according to tracking service FlightAware.
Airports with the most cancellations included those in Charlotte, North Carolina, a major hub for American Airlines, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty in the New York City area, and Reagan Washington National outside Washington, D.C.
On Thursday, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg held a virtual meeting with airline CEOs to go over steps the airlines are taking to operate smoothly over the July 4 holiday and the rest of the summer, and to improve accommodation of passengers who get stranded when flights are canceled.
So far in June, more than 2.2 million travelers a day on average have gone through security checkpoints at U.S. airports. That's up 22% from a year ago although still down 13% from the same period before the pandemic.
There is some concern in the industry about ticket sales after Labor Day, when airlines become more dependent on business and international travel, both of which remain depressed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.