American Airlines to cut service to these American cities – will there be more?

In March, airlines agreed to maintain some degree of service for every domestic airport that was commercial service before the epidemic. The agreement expires at the end of September.

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LAt the beginning of the month, American Airlines announced that its October schedule would not include service at 15 US airports. The move came in the form of Congress and the White House continued to debate plans to provide coronovirus relief to individuals and businesses, and whether it would include additional assistance for airlines. If airlines are left out, the question arises whether there will be further consequences for the domestic flight scenario.

Effective October 7, 2020, American is suspending service to and from these cities:

  • Del Rio, Texas (DRT)
  • Dubuque, Iowa (DBQ)
  • Florence, South Carolina (FLO)
  • Greenville, North Carolina (PGV)
  • Huntington, West Virginia (HTS)
  • Joplin, Missouri (JLN)
  • Kalamazoo / Battle Creek, Michigan (AZO)
  • Lake Charles, Louisiana (LCH)
  • New Haven, Connecticut (HVN)
  • New Windsor, New York (SWF)
  • Roswell, New Mexico (ROW)
  • Sioux City, Iowa (SUX)
  • Springfield, Illinois (SPI)
  • Stillwater, Oklahoma (SWO)
  • Williamsport, Pennsylvania (IPT)

For now, the changes are in place until November 3, American said. The carrier said it would continue to evaluate its network and additional schedule changes could occur in the coming weeks.

Back in March, the US government approved an unprecedented $ 2 trillion in relief for individuals and companies negatively affected by a piece of legislation known as the CARS Act from the epidemic of coronavirus virus. It was the largest relief package in American history.

Of that, $ 50 billion was set aside for US airlines – $ 25 billion that was made available as a loan and another $ 25 billion that could be obtained as grants or direct payments, money that was often ” Referred to as. ” Bailout ”because it does not need to be paid back.

Grant money can be obtained until the airline has agreed to certain conditions, including maintaining some degree of service at each airport in the United States that had commercial service prior to the epidemic. They were allowed to reduce the frequency of service (even if needed) for those airports, however, in view of the drop in demand. He had to agree not to inadvertently do any of the employees. Both of those commitments expire on September 30.

Along those lines, American also recently reported that 19,000 employees needed to be laid off by October 1, unless the airlines received more help from the government. Delta also warned that about 2,000 pilots could be kept away from the carrier.

With these cuts, airlines are sending a very clear message to Washington about what’s at stake.

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There is a debate in Washington about another airline bailout. Airlines are not casual observers of these negotiations, but central players and in a way they try to influence the debate, by clarifying what sticks they can use if not receiving additional funding, ”Scott Keys, The founder and chief flight expert says Scott’s Cheap Flights, an airfare deal tracking service.

Keys said U.S. service is being suspended in 15 cities, spread across 14 states, “by pressuring 28 different senators to prevent this catastrophe for small community airports, including some airports such as Joplin That are serviced only by the American. “

Will there be further deduction that all airlines are in the same boat? Actually, there have already been. Back in May, Delta temporarily suspended service to 10 domestic airports that are close to other nearby airports, which are airline services (for example Hollywood Burbank Airport, which is close to LAX). The move was designed as a consolidation of service versus service destroying.

Those cuts were eliminated by the end of September, and Delta has not yet provided an update as to when and whether it will provide service at those airports.

In May, Delta temporarily suspended the service:

  • Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
  • Auckland International Airport (OAK)
  • Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR)
  • Long Beach Airport (LGB)
  • TF Green International Airport (PVD)
  • Westchester County Airport (HPN)
  • Stewart International Airport (SWF)
  • Akron-Canton Airport (CAK)
  • Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT)
  • Newport News / Williamsburg International Airport (PHF)

Delta has an updated list of domestic and international airports, which it plans to serve in September, October and November 2020. This list includes some additional airport defaults, usually reflecting seasonal service reductions (for example, Martha’s Vineyards and Nancoot in Massachusetts is still served in September but there will be no Delta flights in October and November).

Last week, United announced its October schedule and there were no planned service cuts.

As airlines await news about whether they will receive any further government assistance – and we wait to find out what impact their service decisions will have on the way ahead – domestic air travel moves at a much slower pace Has been

On September 4, 2020, more than 968,000 passengers passed through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints, leading on Friday to a three-day world weekend. This was a massive improvement over those who flew 537, which passed through TSA checkpoints on April 14, 2010 – the lowest number of fliers since the onset of the epidemic. But it is still a far cry from the approximately 2.2 million passengers who passed through the TSA checkpoints a year earlier on 4 September 2019.

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United reported in a financial filing on 9 September that it expected that air travel demand would be suppressed until a reliable treatment and / or vaccine for COVID-19 became widely available. The company’s rated capacity is projected to be down 70 percent year-over-year for the third quarter of 2020 compared to 2019, and passenger revenue for the third quarter is projected to be down nearly 85 percent in the third quarter of 2019. .

What does this mean for US domestic flight service and ticket prices?

As domestic flight traffic continues to improve amid the coronovirus epidemic – with it a slower-than-expected airline industry pulling recovery – there are many real concerns for American travelers as to what the delayed recovery for domestic flight service means Will happen.

For one, if service from some US airports continues to decrease or cease, passengers will likely find themselves making more connecting flights. “We’ve become accustomed to a lot of direct routes in recent years,” says Mike Taylor, senior director of travel and hospitality intelligence at JD Power, a data analytics firm. “But when traffic gets so low, it makes no economic sense to fly routes that can’t start paying for themselves.”

For passengers in more remote areas of the country, Keys says, “service cuts will mean higher fares or more drive to other airports that offer more cheap flights.”

Additionally, those who were hoping that an epidemic-induced drop in demand meant cheaper flights could possibly go wrong. “The most important determinant for cheap flights is how much competition is on one route,” says Keys.

Despite the industry’s current conflict, Taylor remains optimistic that it does not mark the end for some US airports. “The operating costs of restaurants and shops are currently higher than low-income airports,” says Taylor. However, he says, “I believe all airports are resilient and can survive.”

Quoting American economist Herbert Stein, Taylor says, “If it can’t last forever it will stop.” All epidemics end. COVID-19 will end someday. Once conditions become such that the public realizes that they can travel without risking serious health issues, then only then will we see a real improvement in the travel space. “

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