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Feds Relax Restrictions, Airlines Can Halt Service to Smaller Airports

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The U.S. Department of Transportation on Friday – motivated, perhaps, by reports of flights with less than two dozen people aboard and routes that could easily be driven – relaxed its restrictions on airlines maintaining service to smaller airports in secondary markets.

The story was first reported by the New York Times.

U.S. airlines were mandated to keep a minimum number of flights to locations it had served before the coronavirus pandemic hit, as a condition of accepting grants and loans made available by the federal government in March as part of the CARES Act stimulus package.

But the pandemic has virtually wiped out the demand for air travel, with capacity dropping to as low as 5 percent full on some days by Transportation Security Administration count, and with some airlines still flying questionable routes. American Airlines, for instance, was operating a flight between two Colorado cities that covered just 29 miles.

The airlines asked for relief and received it on Friday.

According to the Times, 15 airlines were given permission to stop flights to 60 cities that had little to no demand for travel or were easily served by larger, nearby airports. For instance, American can cut flights to Worcester, Mass. in favor of Boston Logan International Airport just 70 minutes away by car for passengers looking to fly to other destinations.

The newspaper noted that no city would be left completely without services; exemptions were granted only if other airlines still flew to them, it said. The Transportation Department also said it reserved the right to revoke any decision if it resulted in “inadequate capacity or connectivity” to a destination.

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

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Airline News

Survey Highlights Coronavirus Changes Airline Passengers Want

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A recent survey of business and leisure airline passengers highlighted the guidelines and health-related equipment travelers are looking for when boarding a plane during and after the coronavirus outbreak.

According to information from Honeywell, around 72 percent were more concerned with the environment on an airplane than in an airport, which only saw 28 percent of respondents voice the most concern.

Nearly 60 percent of respondents also cited social distancing as their top priority during travel, while about half of those surveyed cited air quality (51 percent) and personal protective equipment such as masks (47 percent) as top priorities.

“This survey demonstrates that passengers want high-tech solutions to best validate the entire travel experience as it relates to health and safety,” Honeywell vice president Kevin Suits said in a statement. “Honeywell offers a variety of relevant solutions today that we can bring forward to support travelers.

“We continue to speak with airline executives and transportation leaders about the types of new products and services that would support their efforts to further clean and monitor the cleanliness of their aircraft,” Suits continued. “We are quickly bringing to market new offerings that would be a win-win for our industry and all of us who love to fly.”

In terms of in-flight amenities most-desired by passengers, masks, hand sanitizer and alcohol wipes top the list. Travelers also revealed that cleanliness validation via technology was by far (60 percent) the most important way to provide confidence.

A portion of surveyed passengers also thinks that providing cleaning supplies directly to the passenger would help ensure confidence in the cleanliness of the cabin.

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

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