United Airlines is hoping to operate 40% of its global schedule in October, including more flights to Hawaii. The airline is currently slowly building back up its program following a crisis that has brought the United States’ aviation industry to its knees.
Following a horrendous April in terms of passenger numbers, US airlines are slowly seeing an uptick in passenger numbers. Indeed, during each Sunday in August, the TSA clocked 800,000+ travelers passing through a TSA checkpoint. However, the recovery of aviation is still proving to be a slow affair. Let’s see how United is handling its return to the skies.
40% planned in October
United Airlines is currently operating at around 34% of its full schedule, compared to what it was flying this time last year. The problem with adding capacity back to your network too quickly is that you could end up with empty flights. This, in turn, means that as an airline, you end up spending even more on an aircraft than if it had just remained on the ground.
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As such, the process of returning to the skies is a delicate balancing act. Recover too slowly, and you lose passenger and miss revenue. However, recover too quickly, and you’ll bleed money on empty flights.
As such, United Airlines has slowly been reactivating its services where it has seen a demand for flights. Given the strict US travel restrictions currently in force, this broadly means that domestic flights are being readded quicker than their international counterparts.
Taking the example of October, we already mentioned that United is aiming to operate 40% of its schedule compared to this time last year. However, how is that broken down? Well, Domestically, the airline wants to fly 46% of its plan. However, internationally, the airline is only hoping to fly 33% of its schedule.
Resuming more routes to Hawaii
United Airlines’ Hawaiian flights are also on the resumption plan for October. The carrier maintained a schedule to the state throughout the summer. However, it is hoping to reactivate eight routes to the Pacific islands. However, there is a caveat to resuming these particular services. United is only planning to relaunch them if the Hawaiian pre-arrival COVID-19 testing program is activated.
Currently, Hawaiian arrivals are required to self isolate for 14-days. This has hit tourism and meant that United’s Hawaii routes haven’t been viable. However, with the pre-arrival COVID testing program, Tourists holding a negative test certificate wouldn’t be required to quarantine.
Commenting, Ankit Gupta, United’s vice president of Domestic Network Planning said,
“Because October is typically a slower month for leisure travel, we’re adjusting our schedules to reflect these seasonal changes in customer demand while resuming service or adding capacity on routes where we’re seeing increased customer demand for travel.”
What do you think of United Airlines’ recovery plans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!