Delta Airlines is ending service between Moline and Minneapolis-St. Paul, effective Oct 5, 2022.

Delta Airlines will end its direct service from Moline to Minneapolis-St. Paul effective Oct. 5, 2022.

The Atlanta-based carrier will be ending five of its regional routes in the coming weeks, the latest cities to see service cuts as the industry copes with an ongoing pilot shortage. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a pilot shortage that was already becoming a problem, according to MSN.

At the onset of the pandemic, airlines offered buyouts and early retirement packages to their older pilots. As demand for travel roared back, large airlines had to hire new pilots to replace the ones that retired, with regional airlines being a primary source for the new hires. The major airlines are now hiring hundreds of pilots a month, many coming from the regional carriers.

In this May 28, 2020, file photo, a passenger wears personal protective equipment on a Delta Airlines flight after landing in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

All four U.S. carriers that rely on regional airlines have made significant route cuts in recent months. The latest changes, from Delta (confirmed by the airline) include ending Detroit airport service to Cedar Rapids, Dayton, Ohio, Allentown, Penn., and Fort Wayne, Ind.

A statement from the Quad Cities International Airport on Monday said:

“While we’re disappointed in the decision, we have already begun outreach to other carriers to advocate for our region and explore what opportunities may be available. The ongoing pilot shortages continue to impact many regional airports and these decisions are unfortunately more and more common as a result.

The Quad Cities International Airport parking areas in Moline.

“We are being diligent in our communication to the airlines and we are also committed to doing our part to create a pipeline of talent for the aviation industry by introducing kids in the QC area to the breadth of careers available through tours, career expos and events like Girls in Aviation Day,” the Moline airport said.

Delta represented more than a quarter of QC passengers in May 2022, or 27 percent of the total, according to the airport. In June, they had a 24-percent market share, with 11,479 total passengers through Moline, spokeswoman Ashleigh Davis said Monday.

Delta offers two flights daily from Moline to Atlanta, and once a day to the Twin Cities. In the past two years, Delta cut back from two daily flights to just one, Davis said.

Delta is the only airline that provides direct service to Minneapolis from Moline.