American Airlines may eliminate around 30 flights to and from smaller cities this fall. This is due to the fact that coronavirus aid restrictions will expire at the end of September. Airlines received $25 billion in aid, and as part of the agreement, were not able to lay off workers or drastically cut levels of service until October 1, 2020. Under the program, American Airlines received $5.8 billion.
The Fort Worth-based airline is still evaluating possible service suspensions and thus far has not announced which destinations could potentially be cut. Executives at the major airlines were hoping for an additional round of help to the tune of $25 billion in the next coronavirus relief package. This would have allowed the airlines to keep workers on the job all the way through March, 2021. Unfortunately for the airlines, lawmakers have failed to come to agreement on another coronavirus package, and American Airlines is making plans for the future.
If American goes through with its plans and drops around 30 flights from smaller cities across the country, it may negatively impact travelers from smaller cities that do not have bigger airports located fairly close enough. Small airports that are closer to larger airports, such as Worcester, which is only an hour from Boston, may also lose flights, though this wouldn't be as big of an inconvenience. Thus far, American has only permanently dropped just one U.S. airport. In June, American exited Oakland Airport, but travelers can still fly out of either San Francisco or San Jose.
Other airlines based in the US have not announced if they are planning to drop any cities from their route network. United Airlines, for its part, has no plans to cut service to smaller cities. The airline claimed that due to reasonably strong demand, it sees no reason to drop flights from any cities, though the situation is fluid and could change in the future.