American Airlines to stop flights at Columbus Airport - WRBL

American Airlines to stop flights at Columbus Airport

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COLUMBUS, Ga. -

Over the years, it's been an "on-again"- - "off again," relationship between American Airlines and Columbus Airport. Now, the major air carrier is  calling it quits once more.
   
American airlines returned to columbus in 2010.  And- -nearly three years later, taking another flight out of the Columbus market. The airport director says, American
didn't get the annual profit it hoped for.  "We were flabbergasted. It really, truly caught us off guard."

Airport Director Mark Oropeza says, he got word over the weekend, American Airlines is planning a more permanent departure from Columbus Airport.  "They just can't afford to take the yields any longer so they're going to take the airplanes and put them in another market."

The last American flights will take-off June 11th.

The airport director says Americans departure means less choices for passengers. Right now American flies two round trips per day.  "Whereas before you had Atlanta as a hub. You had Dallas as a hub.  The Dallas hub is now gone away.  All of our air service will now go through Atlanta to get to your final destination."

Cindi Sergeant says she loves the convenience of traveling from Columbus Airport, avoiding the drive to Atlanta.  Now that American airlines is out of the picture, she says a rise in ticket costs is a  concern.  

Once more, Delta will become the solo airline carrier.  Right now it flies up to five round trips a day.  Oropeza says an aggressive search will start to attract another airline carrier.  

"We're still here. We still have air carrier service and we're going to go out there and keep on recruiting and hopefully we'll be successful in getting another carrier to come back to the market other than Atlanta, so we have some more options so we aren't going to say die, we're going to keep on doing it."

For passengers who have American Airline tickets, scheduled for after June 11th American Airlines will "protect you."  That means they'll re-book you through Delta Airlines for a flight out of Columbus.  To set that up, contact American Airline reservations.

Brandice Hudson

Brandice Hudson is a weekend anchor and digital journalist for WRBL News 3. She comes to Columbus from sunny West Palm Beach, Fla. More>>

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