United Airlines to discontinue some West Coast routes

United Airlines, the Chicago-based carrier, has made a significant adjustment to its route network by cutting several domestic routes. The routes, mostly originating from its headquarters at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD), are to the West Coast of the United States.


The Cut Routes

The airline had planned to start new routes in January, but these have been abruptly canceled, resulting in a loss of over 17,000 seats in January and nearly 22,000 seats in February. In addition to the routes from Chicago, United Airlines has also removed services from New York Stewart International Airport, cutting flights to Dulles International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport, resulting in a loss of over 15,000 seats in January. The cut routes include services from Chicago O'Hare to Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT), Spokane International Airport (GEG), and Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO). All three of these routes had previously been operated by United Airlines.

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The Impact

The cuts will significantly impact service to the West Coast of the United States. The airline was estimating 186 flights in March, 180 flights in April, and 186 flights in May, to these three airports combined. However, the airline will now offer 50 flights in March and 60 flights in April. United will look to match its earlier projections in May by offering 182 flights, only cutting four from that month. Overall, this removes 17,000 seats from these three routes in March, 15,000 seats in April, and just 500 seats in May.

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The Reason

A combination of low passenger demand, staffing shortages, and high operating costs have forced United to abandon smaller markets. This move by United Airlines is a reflection of the challenges faced by airlines as they continue to recover from the pandemic slowdown.

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