Saying that demand for air travel is declining at a rate quicker than airlines are even trimming capacity, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says traveling by plane has hit a 10-year low.
As the spread of the coronavirus continues to play havoc with everyday life, airlines are feeling the brunt and trimming flight schedules nearly every day. In fact, with the apex of the virus approaching for New York City, United just announced it is dramatically cutting back service in and out of NYC-area airports.
According to the TSA, airport security checkpoints screened fewer than 125,000 people nationwide on Thursday, April 2. That’s less than 5 percent of the 2.4 million people, including both passengers and crew members, who passed through TSA checkpoints on the same day last year.
Overall, the TSA reported that coronavirus/index.html” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>passenger counts are down about 92 percent – and “passenger traffic is falling much faster than they [airlines] can cut capacity.” In March, TSA screened just under half of the passengers it did in March 2019.
Airlines must continue to keep a minimum of flights and move cargo, as per government provisions of the bailout that was part of the stimulus package.
CNN reported that as a result of the drop in demand, about 20 percent of the US commercial aviation fleet – some 1,200 planes – are parked and have not been used in the last seven days, according to data from Airlines for America. Some airlines have decided to retire older aircraft ahead of schedule.
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American Airlines Increasing Domestic Service for the Summer
Like the rest of the United States, American Airlines is ready for the summer.
As the demand for air travel slowly rises, American is bringing back suspended routes, offering double AAdvantage miles, reopening Admirals Club lounges and offering enhanced cleaning protocols.
American is planning to fly 55 percent of its domestic schedule and nearly 20 percent of its international schedule in July as compared to the same period last year, totaling around 40 percent of the airline’s systemwide capacity compared to July 2019.
Demand has started to rebound, as the carrier reported it flew a daily average of about 110,000 customers per day in May, which is an increase of 71 percent over the approximately 32,000 passengers it transported daily in April.
“We’re seeing a slow but steady rise in domestic demand. After a careful review of data, we’ve built a July schedule to match,” American Senior Vice President Vasu Raja said in a statement. “Our July schedule includes the smallest year-over-year capacity reduction since March. We’ll continue to look for prudent opportunities to restore service so our customers can travel whenever and wherever they are ready.”
Starting on June 22, American will begin reopening Admirals Club lounges around the country with pre-packaged snack offerings and a full-service bar for customers to enjoy complimentary beverages.
As for the airline’s commitment to health and safety guidelines, American will utilize enhanced cleaning measures, enforce social distancing protocols and provide limited food and beverage offerings.
The carrier is also allowing customers to book with confidence, as American announced it would waive change fees for customers purchasing tickets by June 30. Travelers are allowed to change their origin and destination cities as part of this offer, but must pay any fare difference.
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