Regional airports are supplying fewer flights as the major airlines have started to push more flights to large hubs.
- In the years following the pandemic many airlines have cut back on flight schedules causing prices to skyrocket.
- Around 76% of airports in the U.S. and Hawaii that offered commercial flights before the pandemic had fewer flights scheduled in 2022 than in 2019, according to the Regional Airline Association.
- Smaller airports are getting the worst of it as the small ones lost an average of 34% of flights while larger airports only lost around 16%.
- One of the main reasons for the cutbacks is a pilot shortage that began during the pandemic and is still being carried out.
Why it’s news
Many people around the U.S. used to head to the nearest airport to hop on a flight, but now it’s not so easy.
In the years following the pandemic airlines have begun to cut back on a lot of flights leaving small, regional airports in the dust.
Smaller airports are being affected the most by this change because airlines are choosing to take the flights to bigger airports because the planes are bigger and more profitable.
“Why fly a 50-seat plane into a small town when you can deploy those same resources such as pilots, flight attendants and ground crew for a plane that carries three times more passengers and earns more revenue?” said Jim Hetzel, director of product marketing at Cirium.
Smaller airports have recently lost an average of 34% of flights while larger airports have only lost around 16%.
One of the main reasons that airlines have begun to cut back is due to a lack of pilots to fly the planes. American Airlines has stopped flying to 15 airports and reports having 100 regional jets parked because of a lack of pilots.
Other large airline services like Delta Airlines have also been rapidly cutting flights. The airline began cutting back flights in May of 2020 and has not returned to 10 airports it left.
Travelers who frequent small airports are feeling the repercussions of these cutbacks. Not only are there not as many flight options, but the remaining ones have skyrocketed in price causing many to travel to the nearest large airport in order to afford a flight.
Many airline directors are saying that the situation is likely to worsen over the next few years as commercial airlines continue to cut back on less profitable flights.