Airline: Under-use led to cancellation
By DK McDONALD The Daily News November 18, 2017
BULLHEAD CITY — American Airlines is cancelling service to Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport due
to under-use of the service, airline officials said.
“Our network planning team constantly evaluates our network,” said LaKesha Brown, American Airlines
spokeswoman. “Our efforts are to make changes that strengthen our network and we must consider changes to
networks that don’t perform in line with our expectations, therefore (we’re) having to cancel service between
Phoenix and Laughlin/Bullhead airport.”
The carrier looks for strong local demand to keep and continue service, Brown said.
“It’s a business relationship and this is a business decision,” said Mohave County Airport Authority Board
President John Hastings. “I’ve worked on it for so long, to have it not work out is personally devastating, but
it’s devastating to everyone who lives here, though they may not even know it.”
The daily flight service was expected to have an annual economic impact of over $13 million. Hastings noted in
October 2016, at the time the arrival of American Airlines passenger service was announced, that if the service
was not used and was not profitable, LBIA would lose it.
“Since 1998, my goal has been to get us air service so the business community could grow and we could bring
more and better jobs to the community,” Hastings said. “Having service improves the entire quality of life for
everyone here. There are so many drawbacks to not having it and so many potential benefits.”
In what he called a lengthy conversation, American Airlines representatives notified Hastings more than a week
ago ago the airline would not continue daily passenger service to the Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport
beyond Feb. 14, 2018. Hastings announced the loss of service Thursday evening during a Bullhead Area
Chamber of Commerce mixer at the airport.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Bullhead City Mayor Tom Brady. “For years and years we’ve tried to entice a
major airline and finally got one. After nearly a year, the numbers didn’t prove sufficient to keep American
Airlines here.”
The Airport Authority, the airport team and community partners could not have worked harder to make the
service a success, said LBIA Airport Director Jeremy Keating.
“We really blitzed the service,” he said. “Ads, videos at the casinos, the mobile billboard, flyers — we’ve put
$250,000 of airport marketing dollars toward this. Our air service consultant told me they had never witnessed
an airport so invested in making air service work — that’s not a usual thing. Daily air service doesn’t benefit the
airport, it benefits the community. It was hard to hear, but good to know there was nothing else we could have
Passengers who used the service were generally positive about it. It was seen as a great alternative to driving to
Phoenix and for some it was a convenience to fly from the local airport regardless of the eventual destination.