New York Post

American clips wings on LI & upstate

- MaryAnn Martinez

American Airlines will be discontinu­ing flights to Long Island’s MacArthur Airport as well as upstate Ithaca and Toledo, Ohio, in September, blaming a lack of pilots.

“In response to the regional pilot shortage affecting the airline industry, American Airlines has made the difficult decision to end service,” Andrea Koos, a spokeswoma­n for the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline, told The Dallas Morning News.

“We’re extremely grateful for the care and service our team members provided to our customers in Islip, Ithaca and Toledo, and are working closely with them during this time.”

Service to those cities will end Sept. 7. American said it was reaching out to customers scheduled to fly to or from those cities after that date to make alternate travel plans.

In Toledo, the permanentl­y suspended service will have a particular­ly large impact, leaving travelers without many options, as American Airlines is the only major carrier that flies into the city.

Allegiant Air is the only other airline that flies into Toledo. The next closest airport is in Detroit, about 50 miles away.

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority called the departure “incredibly disappoint­ing” in a statement to Toledo’s ABC affiliate, adding it was working on other flight options.

“Please note, this decision was made solely by the airline, primarily due to a shortage of regional pilots. Unfortunat­ely, we understand this is a current continued trend in the aviation industry,” the agency said.

The industry is facing a pilot shortage caused by thousands of retirement­s and buyouts that were meant to save airlines money during the pandemic, when travel dwindled. With the pandemic waning, travel has picked up faster than airlines expected, leaving carriers scrambling.

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