Collins touts surviving DC-to-Maine American Air flights

Greg Nash

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) touted that American Airlines’ flights from Washington, D.C. to Maine survived a round of cuts announced by the airline on Wednesday.

American Airlines announced that it was eliminating flights from Washington, D.C.’s Ronald Reagan National Airport to 17 cities as part of deal with the Department of Justice to allow its merger with US Airways.

But Collins said the company would continue flying to Bangor and Portland, Maine.

"I am very pleased that the newly formed American Airlines will continue these essential flights between our nation's capital and Portland and Bangor, two of Maine's largest cities,” Collins said in a statement.  “These flights are not only in high demand from consumers, but are also essential to business development and attraction and to Maine's critical tourism industry.

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“As I first explained to [American CEO Doug] Parker when the airlines began this review, reductions in service can have a detrimental impact on small- and medium-sized airports like those in Maine, on surrounding local communities, and on consumers, by limiting options and increasing prices,” Collins continue. “I am grateful that the airline took these critically important factors into consideration when making this decision.”

The Justice Department required the US Air and American to give up 52 pairs of flights to Reagan Airport, well as additional flights at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, in exchange for dropping its lawsuit to block the merger between American and US Air.

The agency said it would allow low cost airlines like Southwest Airlines to bid in a lottery for the vacated flights.

American said on Wednesday that it was eliminating flights to: Augusta, Ga.; Detroit, Mich.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Fort Walton Beach, Fla.; Islip, N.Y.; Jacksonville, N.C.; Little Rock, Ark.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Montreal; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Nassau, Bahamas; Omaha, Neb.; Pensacola, Fla.; San Diego, Calif.; Savannah, Ga.; Tallahassee, Fla. and Wilmington, N.C.