Airlines cut flights after travel limits

Andrew Cummings
March 18, 2020

On Saturday, American Airlines had also announced additional cuts to service following the temporary travel ban on flights entering the United States from 26 European nations, confirming that the carrier would be cutting 75 percent of its global flights through at least May 6.

The company expects to see revenue down in March by $1.5 billion over a year ago at the same time as cancelations continue.

Delta announced last week that it will reduce its flight capacity by 40% for the next four months due to the coronavirus outbreak, a dramatic increase from its original 15% reduction. The federal government has imposed severe restrictions on global travelers traveling to the United States. Cash payments, loans and tax help could be part of the deal being discussed by the airlines with Trump administration officials and members of Congress. Short-haul global flights to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and certain markets in the northern part of South America, will continue as scheduled.

It also said domestic service would be reduced by 20 per cent in April compared to previous year.

The last of the country's four major carriers, Southwest Airlines, had gone on record saying it was "seriously considering" cutting back schedules as well, per Reuters.

US Vice President Mike Pence said new restrictions on the UK and Ireland will begin Monday at midnight and will bar most non-US citizens from entering the United States who have been in those countries within the last 14 days.

The big picture: Many airlines are cutting capacity and making emergency cost reductions to align with diminished travel demand.

United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz said in a letter sent Monday to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and congressional leaders that the coronavirus outbreak's financial impact on airlines is "much worse than the stark downturn that we saw in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks", as first reported by Politico. United said it expects to fly three daily flights to London and one daily flight to Dublin through the end of April. It expects decreasing demand from customers, with planes to be only 20-30% full at best, in the summer months ahead. Washington first imposed restrictions on China and expanded them this week to continental Europe, prompting United States airlines to cut numerous flights and scramble to shore up capital.

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