• Wed. May 11th, 2022

Airline industry continues to struggle with labor shortage issues

ByKimberly A. Brochu

Mar 18, 2022

North Dakota’s eight commercial service airports recorded a total of 80,552 air passenger enplanements during the month of February 2022. This is a 57% increase from the 51,240 enplanements the state experienced in February 2021. This is also around 14% below February 2019. Pre-pandemic passenger count of 93,335.

Airlines continue to identify challenges associated with their ability to increase flights and capacity across the system due to labor shortages, fleet availability and lack of demand for business and international travel.

Continued:SkyWest Airlines seeks termination of contract with Devils Lake Airport

SkyWest recently submitted a request to the USDOT to release them from their contractual obligations and authorize the termination of their flight routes in 29 Essential Air Service (EAS) communities across the country. The rationale cited by SkyWest in its announcement is “due to the result of a continuing imbalance in pilot staffing in the industry.” North Dakota communities affected by this announcement include Jamestown and Devils Lake airports where SkyWest is currently under contract to provide air service through June 30, 2023.

In response to SkyWest's request, the USDOT issued an order prohibiting SkyWest from terminating service to each of the 29 communities until the agency finds a replacement operator.

In response to SkyWest’s request, the USDOT issued an order prohibiting SkyWest from terminating service to each of the 29 communities until the agency finds a replacement carrier. Air carriers must file proposals with the USDOT no later than April 11, 2022.

“We are disappointed that labor shortage issues have placed SkyWest in a position where they have decided to seek termination of their contractual obligations in two critical air service communities in North Dakota and many others across the country.” said Kyle Wanner, executive director of the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission. “We also appreciate the USDOT’s quick response to issue an order prohibiting SkyWest from ending air service in the short term while moving quickly to seek proposals from potential replacement carriers. We look forward to working with our communities, our airline partners and our Congressional delegation to identify potential solutions to these challenges. »