American Airlines will suspend services to 15 airports across the United States once CARES payroll support ends at the end of September. The route closures, starting on October 7th, have previously been threatened by the United States carrier.
A wave of actions is expected across the US aviation industry, starting on October 1st. This will be the first day when airlines will be without payroll support from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. One of the significant side effects is that many airline employees are expected to be furloughed.
15 airports suspended
American Airlines today revealed that 15 airports are to be suspended from its route network following the end of CARES payroll support. The affected airports are:
- Del Rio, Texas
- Dubuque, Iowa
- Florence, South Carolina
- Greenville, North Carolina
- Huntington, West Virginia
- Joplin, Missouri
- Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Michigan
- Lake Charles, Louisiana
- New Haven, Connecticut
- New Windsor, New York
- Roswell, New Mexico
- Sioux City, Iowa
- Springfield, Illinois
- Stillwater, Oklahoma
- Williamsport, Pennsylvania
American Airlines will cease to serve these airports from October 7th. The suspensions will last until at least November 3rd. However, the US carrier could extend the suspension beyond this date. The airline is yet to cancel flights beyond this date, as it is still hopeful that an extension of the funding could be realized. Further suspensions for November will be announced in mid-September if necessary.
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With the current CARES Payroll Support Program, American Airlines, alongside other recipients, is bound by certain air service requirements. These expire when the assistance expires and, as a result of low demand, the above routes have been cut. The affected flights will be updated in the American Airlines booking engine on August 29th.
Could furloughs be avoided?
From October 1st, airlines across the United States are expected to begin furloughing staff as their CARES commitments expire. If the government announces a second round of payroll assistance, then furloughs could be avoided.
Around a month ago, Simple Flying reported that American Airlines was gearing up to send some members of staff notices warning of possible furloughs. In June, the airline’s CEO Doug Parker said that he expected to have 20-30% more employees than needed in October.
Its rival airline, United, had revealed that it was planning a scheme where employees could remain active with no flying duties as an alternative to furlough. This, it said, would allow the members of staff to continue to access employment benefits offered by the airline despite not actively working.
Airlines across the country are also in talks with the US Treasury regarding loans secured by the CARES Act. Yesterday, low-cost carrier Southwest revealed that it would decline the $2.8 billion loan offered to it by the US Treasury.
What do you make of American Airlines’ route cuts? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!