American Airlines has extended the suspension and cancellation of numerous international flights, including to regions that have not yet been severely impacted by the coronavirus, such as Latin America.
The Fort-Worth-based airline says on 10 March that it is cutting summer international capacity by about 10% and April domestic capacity by 7.5% in response to decreasing demand.
The airline, which reduced service to several destinations in Asia several weeks ago as the crisis began to develop, has now announced its routes from the USA to Montevideo, Uruguay and Santiago, Chile will also be stopped. As of Tuesday, Chile reported 13 cases of coronavirus to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and Uruguay has none.
American will also suspend many of its flights between the USA and Rome and Milan. Italy has effectively declared a lockdown for the entire country after the number of cases in the southern European country exploded to almost 10,000 and deaths from the virus rose to 463, according to the WHO.
In addition, non-Italy European destinations Paris and Madrid will also see a reduction in service for parts of May and June. It is also delaying the seasonal resumption of flights from the US to Barcelona and Venice.
The airline says that its widebody aircraft will be redeployed on domestic routes. American says it will also introduce new seasonal service between Chicago and Honolulu this summer on a Boeing 787.
The carrier says that these schedule adjustments assume that it will not be receiving relief from slot requirements. So far, certain cities and regions have been reluctant to allow airlines to maintain their slots if they are not using them 80% of the time.
“American has requested temporary relief from this usage requirement – otherwise known as requesting a slot waiver – to better align capacity with demand without the risk of losing valuable takeoff and landing slots for the future,” the airline says on its website. “American will continue to review its network and make adjustments as needed if waivers are granted.”
American’s Atlanta-based rival Delta Air Lines, said earlier on Tuesday that its net bookings have recently tumbled by 25-30%, prompting excess capacity of 15%. To match falling demand, Delta will reduce domestic capacity by 10-15% and slash international capacity by 20-25%.
United Airlines’ president Scott Kirby told an analyst conference earlier in the day that it is planning for an up to 70% decline in revenue for the next two months, with further reductions for the rest of the year.
As of late Tuesday, coronavirus had spread to 110 countries and sickened more than 113,000 people, with the majority of those cases in mainland China and Italy.