American Airlines will be ending its service out of Oakland International Airport on June 3rd. The departure of the US carrier marks the first domestic airline to permanently withdraw services from the airport, citing the coronavirus-related drop in air travel demand as the reason.
Wrapping up on June 3rd
According to The Points Guy, American’s last flight out of Oakland (OAK) will be flight AA2964 to Phoenix (PHX). Flown by a Bombardier CRJ700, the flight is scheduled to depart for Phoenix (PHX) at 12:41 local time on June 3rd. The flight usually takes 90-100 minutes to complete. In the past year, American Airlines had been operating service from Oakland to the cities of Phoenix and Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW).
An American Airlines spokesperson had this statement prepared for Simple Flying:
“We’re constantly evaluating our network to meet customer demand. Unfortunately, our service in Oakland was not profitable and the last flight from OAK to Phoenix (PHX) will operate on June 3. We thank the team members who served our customers and will work closely with them during this transition.”
The airline continued by saying that it would continue to operate other services to the Bay area. More specifically, to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC).
For those who have future bookings for American’s flights to or from Oakland, a refund for tickets can be requested. Otherwise, passengers can change their flight to one of the alternate Bay Area airports without any extra fees.
Cancelation is allowable despite CARES Act requirements
We’ve reported several times on the ‘minimum service requirements’ added to airline bailout money from the US CARES Act. Because of these requirements, we saw airlines get creative with their routing to fulfill their end of the bargain and try to minimize financial losses at the same time.
While some might think that American would be obligated to serve this airport due to these minimum service requirements, the airline can end service to Oakland as the airport is situated within the same metropolitan region as other major airports, as listed above. In fact, the US DOT (Department of Transportation) allows airlines to consolidate flights in multi-airport regions without approval.
Departures from Oakland
American’s departure is another disappointing move for the airport, which invested some US$45 million in 2017 on its newly renovated international terminal, according to Business Traveller. Before the renovation, the terminal could previously, only accommodate a single widebody aircraft with no more than 300 passengers. Renovations added more visitor processing and passport control stations, as well as several new baggage carousels.
Despite these positive changes for the airport, European low-cost carrier Norwegian announced its departure from the airport in December.
Things were made worse in March of this year as JetBlue Airways also ended its service to the airport. Despite this, Southwest Airlines remains invested in having the airport on its route map. The all-737 carrier will run services between Oakland and several Hawaiian destinations.
With Norwegian and JetBlue departing and now American, how do you think Oakland airport will change? Let us know in the comments.
Simple Flying reached out to Oakland International Airport, hoping to get a comment as well. However, no response was received at time of publication. We will update this article if any news is received.