The largest airline in the U.S., American Airlines recently announced it plans to cut its international flights by 75% and ground most its widebody fleet, in response to global downfall in air travel and restrictions imposed by the government to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
The latest announcement by the airline came hours after the White House said that the U.S. would extend new travel restrictions on Europeans to include travelers in the U.K and Ireland, starting March 16.
Reportedly, the sweeping cut includes suspending nearly all long-haul international flights to Australia, Asia, Europe, South America and New Zealand. However, it will carry on with short-haul international flying. Also, American Airlines will still operate 2 flights a day to London and also 3 flights to Asia per week — to Tokyo.
While airlines are struggling with losses and protecting jobs, Steven Mnuchin, U.S. Treasury Secretary was reported saying that the government would right away begin working with the Congress for supporting the airline and cruise industries, both of which are hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also called on the government to come forward to assist and aid impacted employers. It also said that businesses should not have to go bankrupt due to a temporary loss in revenue as a result of the crisis.
United airlines, the third largest airline in the world assured that it would give a credit for the ticket value for any traveler whose international travel is interrupted by more than 6 hours due to constant change in schedules resulting from government restrictions. In addition, the customers who do not use the credit for 12 months will get a refund. Alongside cost-cutting measures, airlines across the U.S. are offering voluntary unpaid leaves to employees.
As per sources close to the matter, the outbreak came as Delta Airlines and its pilots’ union were amidst a contract negotiation, and the sides reached an agreement regarding sick leave related to corona virus and overstaff management for the month of April with partially paid schedules.