American Airlines to Drop Flights to 3 Cities Due to ‘Pilot Shortage’

American Airlines has announced it will end services to three U.S. cities in the fall citing a “regional pilot shortage.”

The three cities that will no longer be serviced by the airline are Toledo, Ohio; Ithaca, New York; and Islip, New York, according to an airline spokesperson.

“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,” the spokesperson said in a statement obtained by The Hill. “We’ll proactively reach out to customers scheduled to travel after this date to offer alternate arrangements.”

The flights to the three cities will end on Sept. 7.

As U.S. travel demand surges, some airlines have struggled to rebuild their capacity to carry the large numbers of passengers wanting to travel, many for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020.

Fox reported that airlines have reported in early June that there is a shortage of around 12,000 pilots, resulting in a reduced number of flights as travel demand booms.

The large numbers of flight cancellations and disruptions in May and June prompted Delta Air Lines pilots to publish an open letter to customers saying they shared the frustration of passengers over recent flight delays and disruptions, which they said were “unacceptable.”

“We are disheartened when we witness the impact of your disrupted travel plans,” the pilots wrote in an open letter, in which they said they were “flying a record amount of overtime to help you get to your destination.”

“At the current rate, by this fall, our pilots will have flown more overtime in 2022 than in the entirety of 2018 and 2019 combined, our busiest years to date,” they wrote.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has said the U.S. government may take action against the airlines over the number of cancellations, once his department sees how airlines handle increased travel over the Fourth of July holiday.

“That is happening to a lot of people, and that is exactly why we are paying close attention here to what can be done and how to make sure that the airlines are delivering,” Buttigieg said on June 18. He also didn’t elaborate on what his agency might do.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has said that passenger volume has been approaching pre-pandemic levels, which is expected to peak during the summer.

Around 2.44 million people were screened by TSA at airports in the United States on Friday, the largest number on any day since Nov. 28, 2021, according to the TSA.

But thousands of airport and airline staff were also laid off during the pandemic economic shutdowns, both in the United States and around the world. Some airport and airlines have reportedly struggled to attract employees who now hold fears over job security.

From The Epoch Times