COLUMBUS, Ohio (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — American Airlines has slashed thousands of domestic flights for March, in what is typically the business travel month of the first quarter, impacting 71 flights originating in Columbus.
The more than 10,621 dropped flights across American Airlines mark the latest example of the prolonged effects COVID-19 has inflicted upon the airline industry and highlight the fast-changing decisions unfolding for American and its competitors as the virus upends travel patterns, supply chains, and labor markets.
The new round of cuts also comes roughly three months after American eliminated roughly 77,000 flights from its January and February schedules.
At John Glenn Columbus International Airport, there are 1,110 American Airlines flights scheduled for March, a reduction of 71 flights and 6,838 seats from what was on the schedule at the beginning of January.
Across American, the cuts equated to approximately 6.7% of the airline’s scheduled flights for March, according to Cirium.
Brian Metham, an American Airlines spokesperson, said the March adjustments were intended to better align the carrier’s resources with demand.
“Even with these schedule adjustments, American continues to offer the most departures in the month of March among the major U.S. carriers,” Metham said.
As of Jan. 10, American had 156,531 flights scheduled for March, down from the 167,152 flights scheduled for that same month as of Jan. 3.
Both numbers are an improvement over American’s performance in March 2021, when it recorded 118,293 flights. Prior to the pandemic, American reported 176,177 flights in March 2019.
In Columbus, March flights scheduled this year are still more than double those in March of 2021. Last year, American Airlines had just 590 flights originating in Columbus.
Among the airports most affected by American’s changes are Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the third-busiest airport in the nation over the past three years, and the largest hub for American’s domestic operations.
DFW saw 1,547 American March originations and arrivals cut between Jan. 3 and Jan. 10, going from 22,036 to 20,489 scheduled trips.
The reduction brought American’s total flights to and from DFW to a level below the 20,565 flights recorded a year earlier in March 2021 and 180,973 flights in March 2020.
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, the nation’s fifth-busiest airport, and American’s second-largest hub, saw similar cuts during the week spanning Jan. 3 to Jan. 10. American now has 17,419 flights scheduled out of Charlotte for March, down from 18,225 as of Jan 3.
Chicago-O’Hare International Airport, the nation’s second-busiest airport since 2019 and American’s third-largest hub, saw some of the most-severe changes to routes during the period analyzed.
For example, all 17 routes from O’Hare to Portland International Airport and another 17 routes from O’Hare to Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport were eliminated the week of Jan. 10.
O’Hare recorded 29 flights to and from Portland in March 2021, while its service to San Jose had been recently restored in September 2020 after being eliminated at the beginning of the pandemic.
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