American Airlines has made the decision to remove three U.S. cities from its services due to a pilot shortage. Locations that will be cut include Toledo, Ohio, Ithaca, New York, and Islip, New York, CBS News reports.
Other arrangements will be provided by the airline company for individuals who may have already booked flights to the impacted locations. According to a statement from American Airlines, the organization is “extremely grateful for the care and service our team members provided to our customers in Islip, Ithaca, and Toledo.”
They also revealed that they “are working closely with them during this time,” according to a spokesperson for the company. The news comes just after thousands of flights were canceled or delayed over the past weekend when many Americans were traveling to celebrate Father’s Day and Juneteenth.
James Ferrara, co-founder and president of global host travel agency InteleTravel, told USA Today that due to shortages in skilled positions such as pilots, airlines are unable to keep up with the demand of their travelers.
“We’re in a boom time for travel. We’re blowing away all records of all previous years,” said Ferrara. “So you’ve got this surge in demand, and you’ve got limitations on staffing.”
Among the airports impacted the most by flight delays and cancellations over the past weekend are New York City’s LaGuardia, John F. Kennedy International and Newark Liberty International airports. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport were also affected on Sunday (June 19).
According to The Federal Aviation Administration, pilots are required to retire at age 65. However, at the height of the pandemic, thousands in the profession opted to retire early. Per Pilots’ unions, the positions have not been able to replenish the roles as quickly as needed to sustain the industry.
American Airlines will halt services to the three cities starting Sept. 7.
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