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Charlottesville airport loses direct service to Philadelphia

Less than a year after its return, Charlottesville’s airport will be losing its daily direct flight to Philadelphia.

The last plane to Philadelphia International Airport will take off Sunday.

Philadelphia-bound planes leaving Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport were 90% full on “most” flights, according to airport spokeswoman Stewart Key. Nevertheless, American Airlines decided to terminate the service.

American Airlines did not immediately respond to a Daily Progress inquiry asking why the service had been suspended.

“They have so many factors that go into these types of decisions that we just don’t have our finger on,” Key said.

When contacted by The Daily Progress, Charlottesville airport CEO Jason Burch gave no explanation for the service suspension either. Burch, instead, highlighted the addition of another United Airlines Chicago route coming later this year.

“While it is disappointing to see an airline end a commercial route at CHO, it’s also great to see route improvements,” he told The Daily Progress in an email. “We are losing the Philadelphia connection with American Airlines again but gaining a second Chicago route in May with United Airlines. We will continue working with our airline partners to provide the best air service to our community.”

This is not the first time American has cut its CHO-PHL service.

The airline suspended Philadelphia service from Charlottesville in November 2021 due to the pandemic, which caused air travel to crater internationally. American reinstated the service in April 2023.

Not long after, low-cost carrier Avelo Airlines introduced a direct flight to Orlando International Airport. That service lasted less than 100 days; Avelo suspended service in September citing low demand.

After the loss of Orlando service, Burch, then the airport’s chief operating officer, emphasized the services that remained at CHO.

“The end of Avelo’s service in Charlottesville is by no means a negative reflection on the community,” he said. “Our existing services are performing great, and we will continue to work diligently with our airline partners on other expansion opportunities.”

Despite the recent service suspensions, Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport is still planning on increasings its footprint in the coming years. The airport has plans for a new terminal that will include an additional TSA screening area, bag belt and gate area with up to four new gates, as well as a three- to four-story parking garage. The project is expected to be completed in phases over the next six years in the location of the current short-term parking lot.

Charlottesville residents eager to get to the City of Brotherly Love can still reach Philadelphia by 4 1/2-hour car ride or five-hour train ride; Amtrak’s Cardinal, Crescent and Northeast Regional lines all run between Charlottesville and Philadelphia.

American will continue to offer Charlottesville travelers seven daily flights to Charlotte Douglas International Airport and two daily flights to New York’s LaGuardia Airport, according to airport officials.


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