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Airlines Issuing Travel Waivers Ahead of Northeast Storm

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A coastal storm heading toward the Northeast United States has resulted in airlines across the region issuing travel advisories through Thursday.

According to Weather.com, the jet stream is driving a cold front and low-pressure system from the Great Lakes toward the East Coast Wednesday, which has resulted in soaking rain and strong winds from the mid-Atlantic states to New England.

The storm system will also get a jolt of energy as a second area of low pressure forms near the East Coast and intensifies as it moves toward New England Wednesday night and Thursday.

As a result of the impending storm and the likely air traffic control and routing delays, Delta Air Lines has issued a travel advisory for airports in Boston, Hartford, New York City, Newark, Providence and more for Thursday.

Impacted travelers flying with Delta will be eligible to make a one-time change to their itinerary without incurring a change fee. Other carriers have issued similar travel advisories and will waive change fees, including American Airlines and United Airlines.

In total, rainfall is expected to reach one-to-three inches from the eastern mid-Atlantic to much of New England, with the Hudson Valley and New England possibly experiencing as much as five inches of rain and localized flooding.

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Expect Airlines to Supply Fewer Options and Higher Fares After COVID-19

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While many in the air travel industry are, of course, hoping for a swift and complete rebound in passenger traffic once the COVID-19 crisis finally comes under control, others aren’t as optimistic.

In fact, aviation analysts are saying that the diminished demand for air travel brought on by the coronavirus pandemic will likely persist for quite some time, even once the threat of contagion has passed.

CNN Business’ coverage looked back at the commercial aviation industry’s path to recovery after the 9/11 attacks in 2001, pointing out that passenger traffic didn’t fully bounce back until 2004. And, in the wake of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, it wasn’t until 2013 that passenger traffic again reached the levels seen in 2007, just prior to the recession. The slumps seen in air traffic during those two crises were just a fraction of what the world has witnessed over the past four weeks.

It’s likely to take a long time for passenger air traffic to rebound from this unprecedented downturn, even once people are able to start flying again. As airlines resume operations, they’ll be selective about the routes they maintain and reduce frequency in order to fill more seats per plane, which will lead to higher fares than were seen before the crisis.

Chief credit analyst for airlines for S&P Global, Philip Baggaley, explained that, as airlines return fewer planes to service and fill those in operation to maximum capacity, many of the low-costs seats that fliers once enjoyed booking will vanish. “Fewer seats flying means fewer cheap seats at the margin,” he said.

“There’s going to be fewer airplanes. That means less flying,” industry consultant, Mike Boyd, told CNN Business. “So, there’s going to be less choice, and you’ll be paying more. There’s no way around that.”

Historically, major economic blows to the industry have resulted in bankruptcies and mergers for the airlines. Prior to the 9/11 attacks, there had been nine major U.S. carriers, which afterward merged into today’s four major carriers, which last year accounted for 80 percent of passengers flown aboard U.S. airlines: American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines.

It’s possible, then, that a new wave of airline failures and mergers is on the horizon, especially given that the $50-billion federal bailout promised to the industry won’t even cover the near-$65 billion in revenue that U.S. airlines would have otherwise collected, even if they only matched last year’s numbers.

“In the near term, we’re going to see a shakeout,” said Joe Schwieterman, a transportation expert and professor at DePaul University in Chicago. “The weaker players may not survive this. Most industry leaders are expecting a long, painful recovery.”

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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