(Joplin, MO) – SkyWest Airlines has notified the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) that the airline intends to terminate United Express service at Joplin, Missouri and twenty-eight other United Express communities. The SkyWest decision also impacts essential air service at other Missouri communities of Cape Girardeau and Fort Leonard Wood and Kansas communities of Salina, Hays, Dodge City, and Liberal.
The decision is not driven by any failure in the USDOT’s Essential Air Service Program (EAS) or the communities. The ongoing national pilot shortage has resulted in service cuts by all U.S. airlines. SkyWest lacks the pilots needed to meet demand and is reducing flying across its network.
USDOT Hold-In Order
The USDOT will issue a Hold-In Order prohibiting SkyWest from terminating service at the Joplin Regional Airport until a replacement airline is selected and begins operations. During the Hold-In period SkyWest is expected to maintain the current daily schedule for regional jet service to Denver and Chicago. Joplin will work with the USDOT to have a replacement airline selected by Summer 2022. A suspension of scheduled air service at Joplin is not expected to occur.
Under EAS status, the DOT provides a subsidy for air service to a carrier that best meets the community’s needs.
Lynn Onstot, Public Information Officer
City of Joplin
417.624.0820, ext. 204