American Airlines Plans to Cut Service Unless Government Provides More Aid

American Airlines is reportedly planning to cut an estimated 30 flights to smaller cities in the United States if a federal mandate is not extended by the end of next month.

According to The Associated Press, American agreed to continue serving smaller destinations as part of the $5.8 billion federal payroll deal U.S. carriers struck with the government, but the order ends September 30.

Some believe American’s plans to cut service will put pressure on the federal government to provide airlines with another $25 billion for labor costs, an effort carriers and their unions are lobbying for in Congress.

Due to the financial impact on the aviation industry caused by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, industry insiders believe the largest airlines in the U.S. will follow American’s plan for dropping unprofitable routes if more funds aren’t provided by the government.

“Demand for air travel has not returned as anticipated,” Airlines for America spokesperson Katherine Estep said. “Without additional federal aid, U.S. airlines will be forced to make very difficult business decisions, which could include announced furloughs and reductions in service.”

An airline executive speaking to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity did not reveal which cities would be impacted by the changes, but admitted some of the destinations are only served by American.

If the government doesn’t act on providing more federal aid, the source claims changes to flight schedules could start as soon as next week. The original grants and loans were issued with the assumption air travel would return to normal by the fall, but passenger numbers remained down by more than 70 percent in August compared to 2019.

When asked about airlines lobbying for more money to be included in a new round of pandemic relief to prevent layoffs in the industry until next April, U.S. President Donald Trump said, “Obviously, the airline business is not doing very well. I would be certainly in favor. We can’t lose our transportation system.”

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