American Airlines has given notice that 15 cities will be shutting down service on 15 US routes as of Oct. 7.
Nine of these cities – Del Rio, TX, Dubuque, IA, Florence, SC, Greenville, NC, Joplin, MO, New Haven, CT, Roswell, NM, Stillwater, OK, and Williamsport, PA – have no other air service than American.
The other cities on the list are Huntington, WV, Kalamazoo, MI, Lake Charles, LA, New Windsor, NY, Sioux City, IA, Springfield, IL.
According to the airline, the closures are slated for the October service period which ends on Nov. 3, and may be temporary. The routes could reopen but American stresses that that will only happen if an extension of the CARES Act payroll support program is enacted, something that remains at a stalemate in Washington.
On August 19, Southwest reportedly said it would no longer be taking a planned $2.8 billion dollar loan from the CARES ACT due to an increase in passenger load and other factors.
The cuts on American come as smaller, satellite cities struggle to maintain their economies during COVID-19, and also as US travelers who wish to travel domestically are seeking out experiences in areas like Roswell, NM – known for its associations with alien sightings – and Joplin, MO, famous for its resilience and public art and tourism renaissance after a 2011 tornado devastated the city.
If cities like the nine that are not served by other airlines do not resume service, travellers could be forced to rely on long drives to distant hub airports for flights in and out.