- SkyWest Airlines, the contractor for United Airlines, gave 90 days’ notice to the Department of Transportation on Thursday that it would be moving out of 29 airports.
- The airports are all part of the federal Basic Air Services program, which ensures small communities have an airline.
- DOT could execute a “book” order that would force SkyWest to stay until an alternative airline was found.
slave-woman shortage of pilots SkyWest Airlines drove to service cut off to the 29 U.S. cities it serves through the Federal Basic Air Services (EAS) program, the company wrote in a 90 days notice to DOT Thursday.
“As a result of the ongoing pilot staffing imbalance across the industry, SkyWest expects to cease service in several markets starting this summer,” the carrier told Insider.
All affected routes are operated on behalf of United Airlines as the United Express. United told Insider in a statement that it is combating the pilot shortage by opening its own flight school, Aviate Academy, to train “up to 5,000 pilots this decade.”
Here are 29 cities:
- Alamosa, Colorado
- Pueblo, Colorado
- Fort Dodge, Iowa
- Mason City, Iowa
- Sioux City, Iowa
- Dodge City, Kansas
- Hayes, KS
- Liberal, KS
- Salina, Kansas
- Paducah, Kentucky
- Decatur, Illinois
- Houghton, Michigan
- Muskegon, Michigan
- Cape Girardeau, Missouri
- Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri
- Joplin, Missouri
- Meridian, Mississippi
- Hattiesburg, Mississippi
- Devils Lake, North Dakota
- Jamestown, North Dakota
- Kearney, Nebraska
- North Platte, Nebraska
- Scottsbluff, Nebraska
- Johnstown, Pennsylvania
- Victoria, Texas
- Shenandoah, Virginia
- Eau Claire, Wisconsin
- Clarksburg, West Virginia
- Lewisburg, West Virginia
SkyWest added that passengers who made reservations “after the service date” will be contacted to make alternative arrangements.
Employees at affected locations, “various options will be offered, including transportation within the company.” SkyWest also operates flights for Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.
Roads to regional airports have become a common victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. Experimental shortages, staffing issues, high fuel costs, among other factors, Airlines forced to abandon unsustainable markets.
Henry Hartfeldt, travel analyst and chair of the Atmospheric Research Group, told Insider that airlines You have no “civil responsibility” to continue serving Markets are unprofitable and will cut out cities that don’t “give them an edge”.
In November, United have announced that they will be giving up 11 small towns indefinitelyWith Delta cuts off three airports a month later. Shortly after, United CEO Scott Kirby said that The pilot shortage has forced the airline to ground 100 of its regional planesMost are 50-seat planes that fly regularly to smaller communities.
Fortunately, the airports have been brought down by SkyWest, they are all part of the federation basic air service Program that has been enacted After the liberalization of the aviation industry in 1978. EAS pays airlines a stipend to fly from certain regional markets to larger hubs so that smaller communities do not lose air connectivity to the rest of the country.
SkyWest’s announcement means that more than a quarter of the 100 airports on the EAS list may temporarily lose commercial air service. However, the DOT can ask the carrier to work until a replacement can be found.
For example, in January, SkyWest Notify the Ministry of Transport It will leave Ogdensburg International Airport and New York’s Plattsburgh International Airport by mid-April, citing staffing challenges.
However, the agency Status “On Demand” on SkyWest to prevent the carrier from ending service to cities until a new EAS airline is selected. The decision came after Senator Charles Schumer of New York sent a Message to the agency “To temporarily maintain the service while they are there [DOT] Work quickly with local stakeholders to identify a new carrier to provide EAS services.”
According to a press release from Fort Dodge Regional Airportone of the EAS cities that lost SkyWest service, SkyWest will continue to “flight” until a new carrier is found.