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Analysts: Flight cutbacks to hit in fall

June 28, 2008 at 3:53 PM

NEW YORK, June 28 (UPI) -- U.S. airline industry analysts are warning the full effects of flight cutbacks will be felt after September as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.

Significant cuts now being made in the airlines' fleet and flight schedules, blamed mostly on soaring fuel costs, will probably result in overall flight cuts of 10 percent for American carriers and most likely will be implemented after the summer travel season wraps up in September, The New York Times reported Saturday. It means travelers may find some familiar routes to U.S. destinations will be gone when they look to book their Thanksgiving trips.

Roughly 100 American communities will be left without regular commercial air service by the end of this year, and that number may double next year, the Air Transport Association industry trade group told the newspaper.

The prospects of route eliminations is already upsetting passengers and politicians, with New York Gov. David Patterson telling the Times, "I implore American Airlines, as well as the other carriers considering various cost-saving scenarios, to take into account more than profit when they evaluate routes."

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