Transportation

American Airlines to drop service to fourth city in September

American Airlines will drop service to Dubuque, Iowa, beginning on Sept. 7, ending flights for the regional airport’s sole commercial airline.

The move adds a fourth city to the list of recent pullbacks by American Airlines as the company grapples with a pilot shortage. The airline previously said it will also drop service to Toledo, Ohio; Ithaca, N.Y.; and Islip, N.Y., following the Labor Day weekend. 

American informed the Iowa airport on Tuesday that it would drop service, an airline spokesperson and the Dubuque airport director said.

“The airport is not closed,” Dubuque Regional Airport Director Todd Dalsing said in a statement. “We have robust general aviation with multiple corporate and private aircraft, including the University of Dubuque.”

Dalsing noted that the airport also hosts various events and Sun Country Airlines charter flights. The airport has not yet announced if another commercial airline will replace American, but Dalsing said staff continue to meet with legacy and low-cost carriers.

The pullback is the latest fallout after American and other airlines shed millions of jobs at the height of the coronavirus pandemic to cut costs. 

But now travel demand is surging, with daily passenger output regularly surpassing 2 million people at the nation’s airports at rates that approach pre-pandemic trends.

Airlines have struggled to keep up with that rising demand, facing issues like pilot shortages and higher fuel costs, driving prices higher.

Carriers like Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines have cut back on their schedules this summer, and thousands of flights were canceled or delayed this past weekend ahead of Father’s Day and Juneteenth.

“American Airlines has been a long-time partner for many years in Dubuque,” Dubuque Mayor Brad Cavanagh said in a statement. “We fully understand this is a nationwide issue with multiple airlines and airports announcing air service cancellations and reductions.” 

Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), who represents Dubuque, blamed the cut back on President Biden.

“I am disappointed that the pilot shortage has led to American Airlines canceling service to Dubuque,” Hinson said in a release. “The consequences of President Biden’s failed policies are reverberating throughout our economy and taking opportunities away from communities like Dubuque. I will continue to work on commonsense solutions to get our economy back on track and promote economic development in Iowa.” 

Tags american airlines Ashley Hinson Ashley Hinson Biden Dubuque Dubuque airport Joe Biden pilot shortage Todd Dalsing

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