You could argue that a recent Reuters headline missed the big picture: “American Airlines cuts flights from Reagan, LaGuardia airports.” The real story is the 17 cities that will lose year-round, daily nonstop service to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C. Some travel to New York is also affected.
What’s Behind the Flight Cuts
The move is the result of an agreement reached with the Justice Department requiring the airline to divest slots; in exchange, the merger of American and US Airways was allowed to proceed (the union was legally finalized in December but the US Air brand won’t disappear for a while).
As travel analyst and FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney noted in the aftermath of the agreement, smaller regional cities were among the losers in the airline/DOJ agreement. “These will take the brunt of future airfare hikes when the economy finally perks up, which is limiting prices at the moment along with fuel,” adding that, “The settlement does nothing to alleviate their pain.” However, it should be noted that the D.C. flight cuts include big cities, too.
Changes for Reagan Airport, Washington, D.C.
According to the American Airlines press release, the following communities “will no longer receive year-round, daily service” to Washington Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.
|Augusta, Ga.||Little Rock, Ark.||Pensacola, Fla.|
|Detroit, Mich.||Minneapolis, Minn.||San Diego, Calif.|
|Fayetteville, N.C.||Montreal||Savannah, Ga.|
|Fort Walton Beach, Fla.||Myrtle Beach, S.C.||Tallahassee, Fla.|
|Islip, N.Y.||Nassau, Bahamas||Wilmington, N.C.|
|Jacksonville, N.C.||Omaha, Neb.|
Effective date for the above changes has not been announced. American notes that these cities will continue to have access to Reagan via “connecting flights from one or more of the airline’s other eight hubs.”
Changes for LaGuardia Airport, New York
As a result of slot divestitures at LaGuardia, American will no longer offer non-stop service between that airport and Atlanta, Cleveland and Minneapolis. However, it points out that changes to its schedule will provide new service from the New York City airport to 10 communities which include Dayton, Little Rock and Richmond (see the entire list here).
The airline says travelers can book tickets for these new routes beginning Jan. 26 for travel starting April 1.