Six NFL teams are going to have to find a new way to get around this year, according to Forbes.
The outlet reports that American Airlines has chosen not to renew its charter contracts with the Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, and Pittsburgh Steelers. It will continue to charter the Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.
There’s no clear reason for the change, according to Forbes.
It is hard to ascertain a clear pattern in the selection. Dallas is American’s biggest hub in terms of departures, passengers and employees. Charlotte is second biggest in terms of departures and passengers. Dallas, Charlotte, and Philadelphia all have maintenance bases.
But Miami and Phoenix are also hubs. Miami has a maintenance base and ranks third in both employees and passengers. Chicago is third in terms of daily departures.
“After careful evaluation, we are reducing the number of charter operations for 2017 to ensure we have the right aircraft available for our passenger operation,” said American spokeswoman Lakeesha Brown.
It’s unclear where those teams will take their charter business next, though according to Pro Football Talk, Delta and United may be cutting back on their own charter operations, possibly cutting them out of the running as well.
The issue, based on information from PFT’s source, extends beyond American Airlines. Delta is believed to be doing the same thing, and United could be next. The source said that roughly 20 teams currently don’t have a charter provider for the coming season, and that it could become a “real issue” for the league.
Given the wealth of most of the NFL’s owners and the value of its teams, I’m sure the teams losing charter service can find a solution. You’re not going to see teams occupying the main cabin of a flight this fall.