Pilot shortage: United drops service from Washington Dulles to 14 regional markets

Dec 22, 2021

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United Airlines is making some significant changes to the regional network at its Washington Dulles (IAD) hub.

The Chicago-based carrier is suspending nine United Express routes at Dulles while shifting five more to its Newark (EWR) hub. United will not be completely exiting any markets. Instead, the affected markets will continue to be served by United from either Newark or Chicago O’Hare (ORD). United characterized the route suspensions as temporary, but did not provide a timeline for when they might resume.

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“As we continue to evaluate our network and closely match supply with demand, United is making adjustments to our East Coast operations, including suspending service between Washington Dulles/D.C. and several regional markets, and shifting some service from Washington D.C. to New York/Newark,” a United spokesperson said in a statement. “After these adjustments, United will still serve nearly the same number of destinations from Dulles that it did in 2019.”

United cited an ongoing pilot shortage as well as other factors as the reason for making this change. Last week, United CEO Scott Kirby said that United Express carriers have had to park nearly 100 regional jets due to the pilot shortage.

More: How a pilot shortage could leave travelers with higher fares and fewer options

The changes will take effect in March, according to Skift Airline Weekly, which first reported on the suspensions.

It’s the latest set of regional cuts that United has made this quarter. By early next year, the carrier will have completely completely exited  11 regional markets — a step further than the latest changes United’s making at Dulles.

United is suspending service from IAD to the following cities:

  • Akron/Canton, Ohio (CAK) (service continues from ORD)
  • Asheville, North Carolina (AVL) (service continues from EWR)
  • Bangor, Maine (BGR) (service continues from EWR)
  • Erie, Pennsylvania (ERI) (service continues from ORD)
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan (GRR) (service continues from EWR)
  • Greensboro, North Carolina (GSO) (service continues from EWR)
  • Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina (GSP) (service continues from EWR)
  • Milwaukee (MKE) (service continues from EWR)
  • Wilmington, North Carolina (ILM) (service continues from EWR)

United is shifting the following service from IAD to EWR:

  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (MDT)
  • Ithaca, New York (ITH)
  • Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (AVP)
  • State College, Pennsylvania (SCE)
(Map courtesy of Cirium)


Featured photo by Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images.

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