The market reality is that the hub-and-spoke carriers (American, Delta, and United) are moving to bigger planes. This includes regional routes, with 76-seaters replacing 50-seat or smaller aircraft. If smaller communities can’t fill up those bigger larger, they will lose some or, in certain cases, all of their existing scheduled air service. Binghamton and Elmira both currently have a couple of flights a day on American to Philadelphia on old 37-seat turboprops. Those turboprops are going away sooner rather than later, so this is apparently a good time, despite the reasonably strong economy, for American to dump some marginal destinations. And it’s a double blow for these two New York cities, as United is also ending service to both, leaving them with just Delta plus, in Elmira’s case, Allegiant.
Might we see more some route and destination elimination in the future? Yes.
Bonus Charlotte impact #1: Speaking of American getting rid of turboprops, back in August 54 (out of the 661) flights a day out of its big hub in Charlotte were on turboprops. As of this week, the number of such flights is down to 39.
Bonus Charlotte impact #2: While Elmira and Binghampton are definitely second-tier destinations, both do regularly show up in Department of Transportation’s quarterly air travel data for CLT, meaning that at least five people a day are on average traveling between there (via a connection) and the Queen City. There aren’t that many other places within 1,000 miles that meet that criteria and lack downstops to Charlotte, which calls into question how much expansion potential American truly has at Charlotte.