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American Airlines to stop Toledo-to-Chicago flights

The airliner cited a nationwide pilot shortage for dropping the route.

SWANTON, Ohio — American Airlines announced Thursday it is dropping flight service from Eugene F. Kranz Toledo Express Airport to Chicago, effective this fall.

American Airlines spokesman Brian Metham said the "difficult decision" was made in response to the industry-wide pilot shortage. Sept. 6 will be the final day for flights.

"We thank the team members who served our customers in Toledo and will work closely with them during this transition," Metham said. "We’ll proactively reach out to customers scheduled to travel after this date to offer alternate arrangements. Customers can still access American’s global network through the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, where we offer up to 27 peak-daily flights to eight of our hubs."

The decision leaves Allegiant Air as the lone airliner offering service to and from Toledo Express. Allegiant flies to three Florida destinations - Tampa, Orlando and Fort Myers - and Mesa, Ariz.

The Mesa route was announced late last year.

Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority spokeswoman Holly Kemler released the following statement to WTOL 11:

"We are incredibly disappointed to learn of American Airlines' decision to cancel service to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) out of Eugene F. Kranz Toledo Express Airport (TOL) beginning Sept. 7, 2022. 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 Port Authority continues to meet with various airline representatives multiple times a year in an effort to increase air service out of TOL. Toledo Express is still served by Allegiant, which offers nonstop service to Phoenix-Mesa, Arizona and Orlando Sanford, Ft. Myers/Punta Gorda and St. Pete-Clearwater, Florida."

In March 2021, American temporarily grounded its Chicago flight, saying that that move was a temporary change caused by a staffing shortage. Then in November, American paused its route between Toledo and Charlotte citing the same reasons.

But in March of this year, the port authority solicited suggestions from the public for possible new non-stop flight destinations.

Expanding passenger flights has been a focus for the airport for a number of years. The airport’s passenger business peaked in 2004, when more than 600,000 passengers traveled through Toledo.

The passenger business had dropped to 143,514 in 2012 before rebounding to 245,389 in 2019.

In 2020, when travel was largely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, passenger business in Toledo dropped to an all-time low of just 127,734 passengers

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