PORTAGE — The Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport is among more than a dozen U.S. airports where American Airlines plans to suspend service in October because of low demand and a lack of additional federal pandemic relief.
The airline said today it would suspend service to and from the Southwest Michigan airport from Oct. 3-Nov. 3 along with 14 other small and mid-size cities.
“This is the first step as American continues to evaluate its network and plans for additional schedule changes in the coming weeks,” the airline said in a statement.
Under the federal CARES Act, airlines received $25 billion in aid if they agreed to maintain minimum levels of service through Sept. 30. American reportedly received $5.8 billion in CARES Act funding, and said last week service in up to 30 cities could be temporarily suspended.
Kalamazoo/Battle Creek airport officials reported recently that passenger travel has started to rebound, although activity is still roughly 75 percent below where it was a year ago.
As an airport that focuses on business travelers, “It will take the confident return to normal operations by the area’s business community to fully recover,” Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Airport Director Craig Williams said in a statement. “The move by American is disappointing, but we are confident of their commitment to AZO and their return in November.”
Airport officials reported earlier this week that traffic had rebounded because American and Delta Air Lines increased capacity at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek airport. Meanwhile, United Airlines is amid a “three month hiatus” from the airport with plans to resume Oct. 1, officials said.