American Airlines has suspended operations in four cities due to a pilot shortage. Measures are being taken in Erie if the airlines decides to add Erie to their list.
Here is more on what a local flight school is doing to help and how travel agencies are responding.
North Coast Flight School is looking to ease pilot shortages should this impact Erie while travel agencies are on standby to accommodate their customers.
Ithica and Islip New York, Toledo Ohio, and Dubuque Iowa are the latest cities to be impacted by the pilot shortage.
American Airlines suspended operations at their airports.
The president of a local flight school told us what he believes is contributing to the shortage.
“With the fuel prices, we all understand that you can just go to the pump with your car. Well it works the same way with an airline. They burn a lot more fuel. Obviously the costs are rising. You have the amount of money that the airlines spend at each airport to be there. So all of these fees need to be addressed,” said Greg Hayes, President of North Coast Flight School.
Senior Specialist of Global Communications at American Airlines Brian Metham said that there are no additional station closures at this time and the airline continues to offer American Eagle Service between Erie and the Charlotte Hub twice daily.
While the airline is still servicing Erie International Airport, travel agencies are prepared to accommodate their customers if service discontinues.
“If they had already booked a flight and it was canceled, we would take care of them. We would make sure that either American Airlines refunded their ticket or we would get them changed to depart out of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or Buffalo,” said Ann Denny, Owner of Miller Travel Services.
Hayes said that he is doing everything he can to help combat the issue by training future pilots.
“Right now every airport everybody that’s involved needs to get involved in trying to train new pilots,” said Hayes.
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Denny says that Miller Travel Services would have tickets refunded to customers and rebook them on United Airlines if they insist on flying out of Erie.