American Airlines will drop service in three cities starting this Spring because of pilot shortages and sluggish demand.
"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," the company told The Epoch Times in a statement.
The airline will reach out to customers scheduled to travel to offer alternate arrangements.
According to various reports, the last day for the airline's operations in LGB airport will be Feb. 28. The company plans to fly its last routes from CSG airport to Charlotte and Dallas on April 3.
The service at DRT airport will be suspended on the same day as the CSG airport.
"We appreciate the great relationship we've enjoyed with American Airlines and understand their tough business decision during these challenging times. We look forward to welcoming them back to Long Beach in the future," Cynthia Guidry, the Long Beach Airport director, said in a statement obtained by City News Service.
For some routes, the airline will resume services as circumstances change.
American-JetBlue AllianceAmerican Airlines and JetBlue Airways are pushing ahead with an expansion of their partnership in the Northeast.
The airlines said in December 2022 that American Airlines will add six new routes from New York City while dropping one. JetBlue will start several new routes from New York and Boston including service to the Bahamas and Bermuda. Some routes will operate only during summer, and most will be limited to one or two flights a day.
The new destinations would expand the alliance to about 700 flights per day.
However, the alliance is being challenged by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and another customer class action lawsuit.
The DOJ, six states, and the District of Columbia sued to kill the partnership, which lets American and JetBlue work together on setting schedules and sharing revenue on flights in New York and Boston.
The government said the deal will reduce competition and lead to higher fares, costing consumers $700 million a year. American and JetBlue argued that their combination will help consumers by making them a stronger competitor in the Northeast against Delta and United Airlines.
A judge in Boston is expected to issue a verdict this year.
Separately, a class action lawsuit was filed in December 2022 and claimed that the two airlines overcharged passengers by $700 million a year since they formed the Northeast alliance in the middle of 2020.
However, JetBlue defended the alliance and said that it is benefiting customers by adding new routes.
“So far, the NEA (Northeast Alliance) has resulted in approximately 50 new routes out of JFK, LaGuardia, Boston, and Newark; increased frequencies on more than 130 routes since February 2021; 90 nonstop routes with increased capacity; and 17 new international routes launched by 2022,” the airline told Bloomberg Law.