United Airlines is dropping 11 small U.S. cities from its flight network as the pandemic drives up travel costs, according to Business Insider.
The routes reported to be canceled indefinitely are Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Michigan; College Station, Texas; Columbia, Missouri; Mosinee, Wisconsin; Evansville, Indiana; Killeen–Fort Hood, Texas; Lansing, Michigan; Monroe, Louisiana; Pierre, South Dakota; Watertown, South Dakota; and Twin Falls, Idaho.
''Many different factors determine a successful route and our decisions include careful evaluation of our overall network, fleet, resources at our regional partners, and yields,'' United told Insider. ''With that in mind, we have determined that these particular routes are not sustainable for the long-term.''
United confirmed to Insider directly that eight of the 11 routes would be canceled and said it would work with customers to help make alternative plans at surrounding airports.
Pierre and Watertown in South Dakota, two of the routes cut by the airline, qualify for federal subsidies under the government's Essential Air Service program. Due to flight cancellations, however, the Department of Transportation chose Denver Air Connection to operate the routes instead.
The United cancellations follow a growing pattern of airlines abandoning small cities. Delta cut service from Salt Lake City to Durango, Colorado, only six months after relaunching it. American Airlines cut service to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and New Haven, Connecticut, in September.
Further, SkyWest recently cut its services to Pierre, South Dakota; Watertown, South Dakota; and Twin Falls, Idaho.
A SkyWest spokesperson told Insider regarding the matter that they ''appreciate the support we have seen from the community; however, there is not enough sustainable demand to continue offering these flights.”
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