United cuts 3 routes and leaves 2 cities indefinitely as small markets continue to suffer after the pandemic – see full list

United Embraer 145.

United Embraer 145.Austin Deppe/Shutterstock

  • United Airlines drops 3 routes and leaves 2 cities indefinitely in its latest network change.

  • The airline will no longer fly to Texarkana, Texas or Flagstaff, Arizona this fall.

  • United is also dropping the short route between Los Angeles and San Diego after 40 years of flying.

United Airlines is again removing cities from its regional network.

On Tuesday, United confirmed to Insider that it is cutting three routes and leaving two cities indefinitely. The airline is also ending service between Los Angeles and San Diego, which it has been flying for 40 years. according to The Points Guy

Here are the details:

  • Flights between Texarkana, Texas and Houston will end on September 6.

  • Flights between Flagstaff, Arizona and Denver end on October 30.

  • Flights between Los Angeles and San Diego end on October 30.

The airline flew to Texarkana from Houston and Flagstaff from Denver, but United’s departure means both cities will only have commercial airline services from American Airlines. The Texas-based airline flies to Texarkana from Dallas/Fort Worth and to Flagstaff from Dallas/Fort Worth and Phoenix.

“We’ve made the difficult decision to suspend service to two cities this fall — Flagstaff and Texarkana — and have already started working with customers on alternate plans,” United told Insider.

Flights to San Diego continue to be served from United’s other hubs, including Denver, Newark, Washington DC, Houston, Chicago and San Francisco, the airline said.

United’s decision to drop Texarkana is particularly interesting because it just started service in february, with regional airline CommutAir operating the flight on behalf of United. The route, which flew once a day with an Embraer 145 jet, was an experiment funded by the city’s local airport authority, per TPG.

In particular, the airport received $884,722 from the US Department of Transportation’s Small Community Air Service Development Program to operate the new service.

The service was scheduled to last for a year, but low bookings forced United to close the route five months early, it said local news channel KSLA.

However, the point of sale noted that the airline has seen passenger numbers at Texarkana grow by four months since the start of service and that the airport even saw its parking lot at full capacity for the first time in its history.

Paul Mehrlich, director of the Texarkana Regional Airport, told KSLA he was disappointed that United left the airport, but said: “We realize this was a business decision and we appreciate United’s willingness to give us a chance in a difficult time.”

However, Mehrlich said there may still be an opportunity to expand its US service or even welcome new operators.

“It is very sad to see United leave TXK (Texarkana), but we will continue to strengthen our partnership with American Airlines and aggressively seek ways to create opportunities to add more destinations and potentially airlines,” he said.

This isn’t United’s first time dropping small towns. In November, the courier announced it would leave 11 marketscut another Dec 14and then nixed 17 more in February

Small markets have become a common victim of the pandemicwith United, Americanand Delta Airlines all regional networks fragmented over the past year due to a combination of low demand, high operating costs and staff shortages. American and United have both grounded 100 regional jets because they simply don’t have enough pilots to fly them.

Henry Harteveldt, travel analyst and president of Atmosphere Research Group, told Insider in November that airlines have no “civil responsibility” to serve small towns.

“In the wake of the most financially brutal 18 months the global airline industry has experienced as a result of the COVID pandemic, airlines are looking for markets they believe will provide an advantage, but if a city is unprofitable, it will. she’ll cut it,” he said at the time.

Read the original article Business Insider

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