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American Airlines is cutting 3 short-haul international markets

Jan. 22, 2023
3 min read
American Airlines is cutting 3 short-haul international markets
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It's not just U.S. cities that are losing airline service during the pandemic.

American Airlines filed plans over the weekend to exit three markets in Latin America. The cities that American is cutting include:

  • Culiacan, Mexico (CUL), effective Feb. 28, 2023.
  • Samana, Dominican Republic (AZS), effective May 3, 2023.
  • San Andrés Island, Colombia (ADZ), effective May 3, 2023.

All three markets were previously served by American's regional affiliates operated on behalf of American Eagle. SkyWest Airlines flew from Phoenix to Culiacan, while wholly-owned regional subsidiary Envoy Air operated flights from Miami to Samana and San Andres Island.

COURTESY CIRIUM

Interestingly, all three markets were new to American's network and launched during the pandemic with twice-weekly service. The carrier added flights to Culiacan in March 2021, followed by Samana in June 2021 and rounded out by San Andres Island in December 2021.

In a statement confirming the cuts, the airline blamed weak demand and the pilot shortage as the reason for the exits.

Due to soft demand in these markets and the regional pilot shortage affecting the airline industry, American Airlines has made the difficult decision to end service in San Andrés, Colombia; Samana, Dominican Republic and Culiacan, Mexico, this spring. We’ll proactively reach out to customers scheduled to travel to offer alternate arrangements.

American's latest station exits come as major airlines have been facing staffing shortages, particularly in their pilot ranks. The pilot shortage has been especially challenging for regional affiliates that have historically served as stepping stones for budding aviators looking to jump-start their careers and eventually work at major U.S. carriers.

Airlines are working hard to develop a pipeline of future pilots, but the shortage isn't something they can fix overnight. In cases such as this, the shortage has resulted in carriers pulling out of small cities.

In fact, American has needed to park regional jets during the pandemic in part because it doesn't have the pilots available to fly them.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

While the focus in this latest network update is American's short-haul international connectivity, the airline has cut a whopping 18 domestic cities during the pandemic — many because of the pilot shortage.

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Earlier this year, the airline added three more U.S. cities to its growing list of cuts that now includes Columbus, Georgia; Del Rio, Texas; and Long Beach, California.

Altogether, 65 domestic airports have lost service by one of the big three U.S. airlines (American, Delta and United) during the pandemic, according to Cirium schedules and analysis performed by aviation consulting firm Ailevon Pacific.

Of the major U.S. carriers, United has garnered the most headlines for a major pullback in regional connectivity nationwide — now up to 36 markets and counting.

For more about American's route network, check out:

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees