Direct flights from the Eugene Airport to Chicago and Los Angeles international airports have been discontinued by United Airlines, Eugene Airport Director Cathryn Stephens confirmed Monday afternoon.
The Chicago-based carrier is cutting 12 routes and pulling out of four U.S. cities, The Points Guy reported Friday.
The cut routes in Oregon include non-stop flights between:
Eugene and Los Angeles International Airport
Eugene and O'Hare International Airport in Chicago
Medford and LAX
A nationwide pilot shortage, fuel costs and delays with new aircraft deliveries led to United deciding to end the routes in Eugene, Stephens said.
Service between Eugene and Chicago, which started in June 2019, already had been suspended. Many of the other routes United is cutting also had been suspended because of lower demand due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Points Guy reported, but the carrier had planned to bring them back.
The Chicago nonstop flights, which was a seasonal route for summer months, will not be scheduled for 2023, Stephens said Monday.
The reasons given for not renewing that route included the timing — it was a red eye flight — and high fuel costs, Stephens said.
The Los Angeles route, which started in March 2019, will be suspended starting in January, Stephens said. The reasons given for suspending that route included the nationwide pilot shortage and a delay on deliveries for new narrow-body United aircrafts used for the route, Stephens said.
Both routes could be potentially restarted at some point in the future if United decided to, Stephens said.
Stephens said the airport is "constantly" working on getting new routes and improving service, and hopes to get a direct route back to Chicago.
While she said the airport never wants to lose a route, it understands the factors that go into the airlines' decisions. She said the airport has overall been trending upwards, with 12% more seats in the market expected for flights in 2023 compared to 2022, and 75% compared to 2021. In recent years the airport has also announced new non-stop flights to elsewhere in the West, such as Orange County and Palm Springs.
"You have to keep it in perspective, because overall, we still have more seats in our market than we did last year or the year before," Stephens said.
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This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Eugene Airport confirms United cutting direct flights to Chicago, LAX