Aug. 20 (UPI) -- American Airlines announced Thursday that it will suspend service to more than a dozen U.S. cities in October once the stipulations for federal aid the carrier received earlier this year expire.
The airline said service to 15 "low demand" cities will end on Oct. 7. American will release an updated October schedule next week.
The suspension will affect service to Del Rio, Texas; Dubuque, Iowa; Florence, S.C.; Greenville, N.C.; Huntington, W.Va.; Joplin, Mo.; Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Mich.; Lake Charles, La.; New Haven, Conn.; New Windsor, N.Y.; Roswell, N.M.; Sioux City, Iowa; Springfield, Ill.; Stillwater, Okla.; and Williamsport, Pa.
U.S. airlines that received federal COVID-19 aid in the spring were required to maintain minimum levels of service until Oct. 1. Once the deadline passes, carriers can end service and lay off employees.
The Trump administration approved $5.8 billion in aid for American in April, in the form of a direct grant and a low-interest loan.
Demand for air travel in the United States has slowly risen in recent weeks after the pandemic led to months of hardship for carriers worldwide.
Data from the Transportation Security Administration shows that almost 700,000 travelers per day passed through airport checkpoints, on average, for the week ending Sunday -- the highest figure since March. Before the pandemic, the daily average was more than 2 million.