American Airlines has advised Dubuque Regional Airport Director Todd Dalsing that they will be filing a notice with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to end service to the Dubuque market on September 7. “American Airlines has made the difficult decision and is discontinuing service in Dubuque as a result of the national pilot shortage. American Airlines will proactively reach out to customers scheduled to travel after September 7, to offer alternate travel arrangements. American Airlines stated they are extremely grateful for the team members who served our customers in Dubuque and are working closely with them during this transition,” said Dalsing.
“In response to the regional pilot shortage affecting the airline industry, American Airlines has made the difficult decision to end service in Dubuque, Iowa, Islip and Ithaca, New York, and Toledo, Ohio, effective Sept. 7. We’re extremely grateful for the care and service our team members provided to our customers in Dubuque, Islip, Ithaca and Toledo, and are working closely with them during this time. We’ll proactively reach out to customers scheduled to travel after this date to offer alternate arrangements.” said Brian Metham, Senior Specialist, Global Communications for American Airlines.
Molly Grover, Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce CEO & President said, “We are incredibly disappointed to learn of American Airlines’ decision to depart Dubuque. Unfortunately, this is the current trend in the aviation industry and regional airports are taking the brunt of the impact. Since the pandemic started, over 50,000 airline employees — many of those pilots — are no longer with the airlines as they were pre-COVID. We truly appreciate all of the community’s support. You can do a lot of things in the airline industry to adapt, but the one thing you can’t do when you have pilot shortages is fly planes.”
“American Airlines has been a long-time partner for many years in Dubuque. We fully understand this is a nationwide issue with multiple airlines and airports announcing air service cancellations and reductions,” said Dubuque Mayor Brad Cavanagh.
According to the Regional Airline Association, 188 communities have lost at least 25% of their air service since the start of the pandemic or during the first half of 2022. American Airlines recently announced they will stop flying to Toledo, OH along with Ithaca and Islip, NY, with more airports expected to come. In March 2022, United Airlines regional carrier SkyWest Airlines stated that it will be cutting service to 29 small cities that were served under the Essential Air Services program. In May 2022, Delta airlines cut over 100 flights this summer from July 1 – August 7, primarily in markets in the U.S. and Latin America.
The Airport still has a $775,000 Small Community Air Service Development Program grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to expand west-bound air service. “The Airport is not closed. We have robust general aviation with multiple corporate and private aircraft, including the University of Dubuque. We host numerous events such as July 3rd Airshow, Major League Baseball, North American Trainers Association, Experimental Aircraft Association and Honor Flights. We still have Sun Country Airlines destinational charters and we continue to meet with Legacy and Low-Cost Carriers,” Dalsing said.