American Airlines had yesterday announced that it will be offering a 60% lower international capacity compared to the same time last year. The capacity reductions have been implemented to address a record low customer demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result of this, American Airlines will be operating smaller aircraft with a lower frequency, will defer the launch of some routes by a year, and will cancel almost 25 will of its seasonal services this summer.
Summer capacity will be reduced
Due to the growing reluctance of people to travel, American Airlines has been forced to reduce its International capacity for this peak summer season. These reductions include an 80% reduction in Pacific capacity, a 65% reduction in Atlantic capacity and a 48% reduction in Latin America capacity.
Additionally, new services to Auckland (AKL) from Dallas (DFW), Christchurch (CHC) from Los Angeles (LAX) and Bangalore (BLR) from Seattle (SEA) will now not begin until the winter of 2021.
“These changes are due to significantly decreased customer demand as well as government travel restrictions — both related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”
Around 25 routes to Europe that operate specifically for the tourist season have been canceled.
As expected, Italy sees the maximum number of cancelations. Four flights out of Rome and two from Venice have been canceled. Moreover, flights to Rome from Philadelphia and New York won’t resume until October 25th.
American Airlines will resume normal scheduled international services on three different dates. 12 routes will resume on June 4th, 15 on July 17th and 22 on October 25th. This means that this summer, American will not be operating the majority of its international routes. However, a major focus will be on cities like Madrid and London, where American Airlines can connect passengers with its oneworld partners Iberia and British Airways.
As well as this, a capacity reduction is expected with the use of B787-800’s and B777-200’s in place of high-density aircraft like B777-300ER’s. 273 seater B777-200 and 234 seater B787-800 can be used to connect most European destinations from the east coast. Flights to many destinations will also initially operate once daily as compared to multiple daily frequencies.
A general trend
American is not the only US-based carrier facing the repercussions of the COVID-19 crisis. United Airlines had recently announced that it will be concluding all its transatlantic services for now. It further added that these cancellations might extend into May or June and will only be resumed if any signs of growing travel demand are noted. Delta has followed the same example, with the cancellation of all transatlantic services other than London.
At this time, when domestic travel is facing a crisis, international demand will predictably be very low. Until the spread of coronavirus is controlled, we can expect airlines around the world to continue operating a very fewer number of routes.
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