February 1, 2018

United's Houston flight to Bradley suspended until fall

PHOTO | Wikipedia Commons
PHOTO | Wikipedia Commons
United Airlines.

United Airlines is temporarily suspending a nonstop flight between Bradley International Airport and Houston until the fall because of a pilot shortage, according to the airline and Bradley.

Effective March 1, United Express partner and operator Mesa Airlines will suspend service between Houston and Hartford, but resume the flight this fall, said United Spokesman Jonathan Guerin.

In the meantime, this summer, the airline anticipates the return of seasonal service between San Francisco and Hartford as well as increased service to Hartford from New York and Chicago, Guerin said.

United Airlines currently operates 13 daily flights to Hartford from five U.S. hubs including Chicago, Denver, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington-Dulles.

The suspension of service follows Norwegian Air's decision to stop service from Bradley to Edinburgh, Scotland due to the unexpected continuation of the United Kingdom entry tax.

Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin Dillon said, "Naturally we're disappointed; they simply don't have enough pilots to operate. It's important to point out the flight had been doing very well. It's unfortunate that some of these decisions, even though they don't make economic sense, have to be made for operational reasons."

This pilot shortage is a national issue, because Congress in 2013 arbitrarily raised the requirement for flying hours to qualify for a pilot's license from 250 to 1,500 hours, Dillon said.

"That has a chilling effect on the availability of people to hire," he said. "This has been going on for quite some time, and it's only going to get worse as pilots retire."

CORRECTION: This story has been corrected with an explanation of the reason for Norwegian Air's termination of service.

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