American Airlines is once again slashing its schedule due to low demand. Starting in December, the airline will cut its service to London from all its major US hubs. The airline will focus on operating cargo-only flights amid an increase in COVID-19 cases in both countries.
Low demand means cargo only
Earlier this year, in September, we reported that American Airlines was cutting its October flight schedule by 83,000 flights. The airline also pulled flights from its November schedule, cutting some destinations entirely. Now, the airline is also cutting major routes to London because demand is so low.
The airline is cutting 16 flights per week to the UK from Charlotte, New York, and Chicago. In a statement, the airline said it is “evaluating our network to match supply and demand and have been making regular schedule adjustments.” However, the demand for cargo is still high, so American will still operate a cargo-only flight from both Chicago and New York to London.
The current plan is to resume operations in the new year. Until then, anyone wanting to fly from Chicago or New York to London will have to book with American Airlines’ partner, British Airways.
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Currently, AirLive is reporting that American Airlines has just 105,619 flights scheduled for the whole of December. Last year, American operated over 200,000 flights in the same period. Unfortunately, demand for flights is still low and looks unlikely to pick up for the holiday period because of ongoing travel restrictions.
Travel restrictions keeping demand down
American Airlines has joined several other major carriers in urging both the UK and US governments to replace travel restrictions with quarantines and testing. Currently, restrictions prevent most Europeans from entering the US except for certain working circumstances, and any US citizen heading the UK must abide by the 2-week isolation period.
As rapid response testing becomes more commonplace, airlines are asking for exemptions to quarantine rules. In some states, such as Hawaii, any passenger holding a negative test result does not have to quarantine upon arrival. It’s thought this encourages leisure travel as passengers do not need to isolate themselves in a hotel.#
Increased holiday demand
Aside from cutting London from its schedule, the airline made lots of other domestic and international cuts. American will now only operated 15 flights per day from New York’s JFK airport. However, the airline seems to believe that anyone who does travel over the coming months will want to head to warmer climates. American has added flights from Chicago to St Lucia as well as from Dallas-Fort Worth to Belize. There are also new routes to Grenada and Hawaii.
With these additional flights starting from today, American will be operating slightly more flights in December compared to November. However, many theorized that pent-up frustration combined with the holiday season might see increased demand over the next few weeks. Although American’s new destinations suggest they’re thinking along the same lines, they clearly don’t expect to see a massive surge in demand.
What do you think of American’s smaller schedule? Do you think they are right to hope the new year will bring increased demand? Let us know what you think in the comments.