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Dubuque, Sioux City among American Airlines cities that could lose service

Airline cites expiration of stimulus money

Travelers wait at the American Airlines ticket counter at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago. (Associated Press)
Travelers wait at the American Airlines ticket counter at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. (Associated Press)

American Airlines said it will drop service to 15 smaller airports, including Dubuque’s and Sioux City’s, in October once stipulations from federal stimulus grants and loans end.

American plans to drop service to cities with low demand such as Del Rio in Texas, Greenville, S.C., and Stillwater, Okla., due to low demand — destinations that have continued to receive flights during the COVID-19 pandemic because of promises tied to the $5.8 million in grants and loans from the federal government.

The cuts would start Oct. 7 and would be in effect through Nov. 3.

Dubuque and Sioux City were the only Iowa airports on the list.

American last week said that 30 cities could lose service this fall if Congress doesn’t negotiate an extension of the CARES Act that includes more payroll support for the airline industry.

The original plan passed in March included more than $50 billion for carriers, along with stipulations that airlines wouldn’t cut service to any cities and wouldn’t lay off employees.

But Congress left for recess at the end of last week without a deal for more stimulus and momentum is waning for another comprehensive package.

“The airline will continue to reassess plans for these and other markets as an extension of the Payroll Support Program remains under deliberation,” the company said in a statement.

The second round of stimulus would give airlines payroll support through March 2021 and executives said they would support a deal that extends stipulations from the original CARES Act agreement, including rules about continuing airline service to all destinations.

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American got $5.8 billion in grants and loans from the original CARES Act and later secured another $4.75 billion loan as part of the program.

But the airline says it has already burned through that money to the payrolls for more than 100,000 employees and lost $2.1 billion in the second quarter.

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