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Cape Girardeau Regional Airport Announces Immediate Changes To Flights Due To Staffing Shortages

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Cape Girardeau Regional Airport

Originally, the airline offered two daily flights, one in the morning/afternoon, and another in the evening. Currently, the schedule adjustment will remove departing flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but maintain their evening return flights from Chicago O’Hare.

Cape Girardeau Regional Airport has made immediate changes to their flight schedule due to staffing shortages.

Katrina Amos, Manager at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport explains that their parent company, SkyWest regional airlines has managed to maintain their scheduling for the majority of the pandemic, but growing rates of staffing shortages have forced them to make recent adjustments.

In addition to countless numbers of workers on sick-leave, during the middle of the pandemic, in early 2021, The Great Resignation saw a wave of employees voluntarily resigning from their jobs en masse.

In relation, airlines experienced a loss of flight attendants and other airport personnel, with a particular surge in their number of pilots.

Amos explains many pilots have also chosen to retire early due to the effects of the pandemic.

In November 2021, United Airlines, the main operating airline at Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, began cutting down on their flight availability, halting flights to 11 small cities across the U.S. in response to the demands of the coronavirus pandemic.

The regional routes around hubs like Chicago O’Hare, where the regional airport operates, were deemed "unsustainable" as COVID-19 heavily impacted travel plans within the last year.

In December 2021, 75 flights at O’Hare were pulled from the schedule, leaving travelers stuck in airports as staff members continued to call in sick due to the rise of the Omicron variant.

Though the staff shortage began in the pandemic’s middle stages, United continues to struggle with their loss of airline personnel. In January, about 3,000 United employees were out sick with the Omicron variant.

Due to the pilot shortage, the regional airport will adjust their flight schedule from 12 flights a week to 10.

“In light of the pandemic and the various early retirements, as well as crew issues from employees getting sick in general, it's made things a little tough in recent months,” said Amos. “The goal is to reduce the flights so [Staff] have time to regroup, and hire some additional staffing in the inner interim, so maybe we can get back to normal in the next few months.”

Originally, the airline offered two daily flights, one in the morning/afternoon, and another in the evening.

Currently, the schedule adjustment has removed departing flights on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but maintain their evening return flights from Chicago O’Hare.

Amos says this proposed schedule will remain consistent throughout the hiring process, and the airport is looking to make additional adjustments to two new weekly flights to continue to aid staff.

Daria Lawson is a 2021 Graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication, with a Minor in Music.
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