MONROE, La. (AP) — Monroe Regional Airport is losing one of its three major carriers.
United Airlines announced that it will end service from the airport early in 2022, the City of Monroe confirmed in a news release.
“United Airlines said the decision comes in the shadow of a post-pandemic world that saw a drop in air travel,” the statement said. “United Airlines’ leadership have reviewed their operational capabilities and concluded they needed to reduce their capacity across their network.”
United had three scheduled flights daily leaving the airport, all to Houston, The News-Star reported. It also pulled service from 10 other markets: Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Michigan; College Station, Texas; Columbia, Missouri; Mosinee, Wisconsin; Evansville, Indiana; Killeen/Fort Hood, Texas; Lansing, Michigan; Pierre, South Dakota; Twin Falls, Idaho; and Watertown, South Dakota.
The airport's remaining carriers — American and Delta — fly to Dallas and Atlanta, respectively.
Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis said he is sad to see United Airlines go, but the Monroe Regional Airport will continue providing service to passengers.
“MLU will continue to strengthen Delta and American Airlines services while aggressively working to develop opportunities with other carriers,” he said.
Ellis said United’s decision has nothing to do with the city specifically, rather a change in travel habits during the pandemic.
“As you saw the other cities that they pulled out of, this was a business decision,” explained Ellis. “We knew what an impact that COVID has on travel.”
He said he also likes what he's hearing from the remaining major airlines.
“Delta Airlines is flying larger jets into Monroe,” Ellis said. “American Airlines, we are talking to them about picking up other connections around the U.S. They have doubled down during this time with their flights and where they are flying.”
The mayor said he has also tasked Airport Director Charles Butcher with trying to bring in a value carrier to help facilitate business travel.
“I would love to see a direct flight to New Orleans, direct flights to Baton Rouge because there is a lot of business done between New Orleans and Baton Rouge,” Ellis told KNOE-TV.
Butcher said he doesn’t yet know the full impact to the airport from the loss of United.
“We’re working on the rates and charges this week,” Butcher said. “I don’t know what kind of financial impact it’s going to have on us just yet.”
United Airlines last day of service at Monroe Regional will be Jan. 3.