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American Airlines Ending Service in Three Cities Due to Pilot Shortage

American Airlines will halt services in three cities this coming autumn due to an ongoing pilot shortage in the airline industry.

The services will end on September 7 in the cities of Islip and Ithaca, New York, along with Toledo, Ohio.

“We’re extremely grateful for the care and service our team members provided to our customers in Islip, Ithaca and Toledo, and are working closely with them during this time,” the airline said in a statement to Fox Business.

The decision comes as the overall airline industry has been dealing with a pilot shortage while demands for travel remain at an all-time high. Earlier this month, Fox Business reported the industry has a shortage of 12,000 pilots and that the majority of airports have offered fewer flights.

Regional Airline Association (RAA) previously reported the shortage mostly stems from the pandemic, during which the industry faced internal strife over vaccine mandates. Per Fox Business:

Last month, Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said the carrier will have daily cancelations through June 1 due to the pilot shortage. The carrier had been having operational challenges since April due to not having enough pilots to fly its spring schedule, Minicucci said in a note to customers last month. Of its 1,200 daily flights, it’s been canceling about 50 of them, Minicucci said.

JetBlue also reduced flights throughout the summer over staffing issues while United Airlines has upped its training program to hopefully ready 5,000 new pilots by 2030.

Some pilots believe the current shortage was entirely self-inflicted by the industry.

“When I got hired, 88% of the guys at American worked for our military,” retired American Airlines Captain Bob Morgan told Fox Business. “The military stopped making that many pilots; they also put a really onerous 10-year commitment after flight school, which makes it an 11, 12-year commitment. So they don’t produce the pilots.”

“I think it’s really, really criminal,” Morgan added. “Do you want to spend $150,000 to $200,000 to get into an industry where you really need 30 years because the skills are not super transferable?”

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