Axios' Ina Fried (l) and National League of Cities CEO Clarence Anthony. Photo: Axios

Airlines service cuts to small cities could dramatically affect connectivity for Americans, National League of Cities CEO and Executive Director Clarence Anthony said during an Axios virtual event on Friday. "It is a devastation,' he said.

What's happening: American Airlines last week announced plans to suspend service to 15 small cities once federal coronavirus aid for airlines runs out in October, per CNBC. American was the only airline servicing nine of the affected airports.

  • "It is disappointing that the airlines are cutting services to those communities, those mid to small cities and small regions," Anthony said.
  • "And it means so much more to those because it means your ability to go to a medical appointment ... It's cut off job opportunities, services to those regions," he added.

What they're saying: "In the large markets like where you are in [San Francisco] and where I am in Washington, D.C., one or two routes don't make a difference. To the small and mid-sized communities, it means life and death of those regions and those communities."

  • "Transportation equity is achievable and it's tangible, and we need to make sure that it's implemented in America," Anthony added.

Watch the event.

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United Airlines asks Congress, Trump to restart talks on airline aid

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United Airlines' CEO Scott Kirby and union leaders asked Congress and the White House in a letter on Friday to restart talks on coronavirus aid, warning that United may be forced to furlough as many as 16,000 employees starting Oct. 1 if the current aid package is not extended.

The state of play: The federal government's payroll support program for airlines is set to expire on Sept. 30. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in a meeting with airline executives on Thursday said President Trump would support a $25 billion extension to Congress' current aid package.

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Pac-12 will play football this fall, reversing course

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The Pac-12, which includes universities in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Washington state, will play football starting Nov. 6, reversing its earlier decision to postpone the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

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