American Airlines to cut 30-plus SA flights as omicron clouds spring recovery

The Dallas-based carrier’s schedule reductions are hitting some markets harder than others

FILE - (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File) (Steven Senne, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

Editor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between KSAT and the San Antonio Business Journal.

American Airlines Group has slashed thousands of domestic flights, including 33 at San Antonio International Airport, and eliminated entirely a number of routes scheduled for March, with most of the changes targeted at its most popular U.S. hubs, the carrier confirmed.

While the cuts won’t be nearly as deep in the Alamo City as in several other markets, they come as local airport officials are working to expand air connectivity and capacity.

The reductions 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 (Nasdaq: AAL) and its competitors as the virus upends travel patterns, supply chains and labor markets. The new round of cuts also come roughly three months after American eliminated roughly 77,000 flights from its January and February schedules.

A Business Journals analysis of flight data provided by Cirium Inc. identified a slew of cuts to American’s schedule in March. The bulk of the changes were implemented during the week that commenced Jan. 10. Other major airlines posted adjustments during that span as well, with United Airlines Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: UAL) cutting 373 flights and Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL) with 242 flights. None, however, came close to the 10,621 flights that American Airlines has dropped.

The cuts equated to approximately 6.7% of American’s scheduled flights for March, according to Cirium.

As of Jan. 10, American had 634 flights scheduled to or from San Antonio International, representing more than 93,000 seats. Those figures are down from 667 flights and 100,166 seats one week prior.

American Airlines spokesperson Brian Metham 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.

American is the second-largest airline servicing San Antonio International. Its San Antonio cuts will affect flights to or from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.

Despite the reduction in service, American has 146 more flights scheduled for March 2022 than it offered the same month a year ago.

Other cities are taking a bigger hit from American’s adjustments. Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, for example, the largest hub for the airline’s domestic operations, saw its March schedule cut by more than 1,500 flights from Jan. 3 to Jan. 10.

Click here to read the full story and see more photos in the San Antonio Business Journal.

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