CLEVELAND, Ohio – Delta Air Lines has cut its Cleveland-to-Salt Lake City route, the latest casualty of fluctuating travel demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Another casualty: United Airlines is eliminating flights between the Akron-Canton Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport in March.
The route reductions are the latest adjustments by an airline industry that continues to reel from fluctuating travel demand and staffing shortages.
The elimination of CLE to Salt Lake City is part of a larger draw down at the Utah airport, which is popular with skiers, as well as connecting passengers to other Western U.S. and Asian destinations. Nonstop routes from Columbus and Pittsburgh also were cut.
A spokesman for Delta suggested the Cleveland route will return, but could not provide a timeline. “We continue to evaluate our network and make changes in line with customer demand, as we have throughout the pandemic,” said Drake Castaneda, Delta’s manager of media relations.
The route ends on Jan. 4.
United’s decision to end service between Akron-Canton and Dulles is also part of a larger network move, with several smaller airports losing routes to the international airport in suburban Virginia.
At a Senate hearing earlier this month, United CEO Scott Kirby cited the pilot shortage as one reason for an increasing number of cuts at smaller airports.
“There has been a looming pilot shortage for the last decade in the United States, and going through COVID it became an actual pilot shortage,” Kirby said, according to The Points Guy. “So all of us, particularly our regional partners, simply don’t have enough airplanes to fly. We have almost 100 airplanes effectively grounded right now — regional aircraft — because there’s not enough pilots to fly them, which means we can’t at the moment fly to all the small communities that we would like to. It’s really about not having enough pilots.”
A spokesman for United, Maddie King, offered this statement about the route reduction at Akron-Canton: “We frequently review our route offerings and plan to add service back when market conditions improve.”
The CAK flights to Washington Dulles will end on March 3. United will continue to fly to Chicago O’Hare from Akron-Canton.
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