American Airlines has slimmed down its October schedule by cutting 83,000 flights. As a consequence, American will operate just 99,000 flights in October, slightly up from September but down by 55% compared to October last year. The airline has informed passengers and staff than more cuts are likely. Its schedule is still showing flights to around 15 destinations, which it plans to remove from its October schedule altogether.
As the year progresses and the global pandemic shows no signs of letting up, American has to make more and more cuts. The drastic downturn in demand for flights is still impacting airlines around the world. American is responding to this by slashing its schedule again. The airline doesn’t expect to see an increase in flying until the holiday season in December.
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The airline will operate under 100,000 flights in October as is prepares for another month of low demand. Although it will be operating more flights than for the month of September, it is still 55% down compared to last year. This includes a 48% decrease in domestic flights and a 68% decrease for international routes compared to 2019.
The airline has already pulled 9,000 flights from its November schedule as it predicts the road to recovery will be slow. More cuts are expected soon as it plans to pull 15 destinations from its schedule for the next few months. There are still several flights scheduled to some of these destinations, which will likely be removed nearer the time.
The 15 destinations are Del Rio, Texas; Dubuque, Iowa; Florence, South Carolina; Greenville, North Carolina; Huntington, West Virginia; Joplin, Missouri; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Lake Charles, Louisiana; New Haven, Connecticut; New Windsor, New York; Roswell, New Mexico; Sioux City, Iowa; Springfield, Illinois; Stillwater, Oklahoma and; Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
American isn’t alone
American Airlines is not the only airline making changes to its autumn schedule. Southwest has also dropped 35,000 flights from October. Delta is also cutting is schedule by a significant amount. As a result, the Delta plans to furlough around 2,000 pilots in October after the CARES Act funding ends, and it no longer needs the pilots. American is set to furlough 19,000 staff members as well.
Of course, all this may change if the government approves a second round of funding for airlines. The CARES act funding came with conditions that expire on September 31st. As the pandemic has outlasted the funding, airlines will need a second loan from congress, or they will start making cuts to save money until demand returns.
American has also pushed back its deadline for pilots to bid on the October schedules. Pilots will have until September 17th to bid, just two weeks before October flights. This gives American time to see if more funding is coming to the aviation industry. If it does, more flights will likely operate, and it can set pilots’ schedules. If no money is coming, flight cuts and layoffs will probably be regular news in October.
Do you think airlines will get more funding from the government? Do you think we will see more flight cuts? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.