United stopping flights to Lansing in January

Capital Region International Airport said pilot shortage is partly blamed
Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 6:05 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - United Airlines will soon end its service to the Capital Region International Airport.

The airline said United will stop flying out of Lansing as of January 3.

People who fly United told News 10 they are disappointed United won’t come here anymore, but they aren’t surprised.

“We’re the capital,” said Lisa Hancock. “I don’t understand why you would pull out of the capital.”

Hancock catches United flights out of Lansing often.

“A lot of the reason is because of the connections they have to the places I like to go,” she said.

United only flies to its hub in Chicago from Lansing.

In a statement, the airport said United decided it will be ending service because of the slow return of business travel to mid-Michigan.

“We kind of get missed out because we have to choose to either go east or west to take a flight,” Hancock said. “It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.”

Hancock said she had just taken a United flight 10 days ago, and the plane was full.

“I was surprised how many people were on the flight. I felt that way going in and out of Lansing for the last period of time. There’s a lot of interest and reason to stay in Lansing,” she said.

United is dropping service to 10 other cities, including Kalamazoo.

The pilot shortage is also being blamed.

“Because of the fewer flights, because of the staffing with the pilots, with the flight crew. It’s harder,” said Hancock.

United isn’t the only airline struggling to get enough pilots.

American and Southwest recently canceled thousands of flights because they didn’t have enough crew.

Airplane simulator and training provider CAE said 253,000 airline pilots are needed to cover retirements and increased demand over the next decade.

Now, Hancock said she’s looking at another airline for her next flight.

Delta and American will continue to fly out of Capital Region International Airport.

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