Hawaiian Airlines announced it would provide free flights between islands to medical professionals battling the coronavirus outbreak.
As part of the airline’s partnership with leading healthcare providers in the state, Hawaiian will be sending personnel and equipment to impacted communities as the tourism industry grinds to a halt. Partner organizations include the Hawaii Emergency Physicians Associated (HEPA), The Queen’s Health Systems and more.
The carrier also announced a new flight schedule designed to provide vital connectivity in April between the Hawaiian Islands as the state continues its 14-day self-quarantine requirement.
“This virus has presented an unprecedented test for all of us who call Hawai‘i home, and we are glad to be able to support the exceptional and important work our medical providers are carrying out across our islands each day to meet our state’s healthcare needs and help us overcome this challenge,” Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram said in a statement.
Starting April 4, Hawaiian will be providing a total of 16 daily roundtrip flights between Honolulu on O‘ahu and Hilo and Kona on the Island of Hawaii, Kahului on Maui and Lihu‘e on Kaua‘i.
The airline will also keep serving both Moloka‘i and Lana‘i from Honolulu, but suspended service between Honolulu and Pago Pago for at least 30 days at the request of the American Samoan government.
Other airlines have been forced to make drastic changes, as officials from easyJet announced the decision to coronavirus-outbreak.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>ground its entire fleet until further notice due to heavy travel restrictions and self-quarantines caused by the viral outbreak.
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New United CEO Scott Kirby Comes Out Firing
United Airlines’ Scott Kirby, who took over as CEO last week in the wake of Oscar Munoz’s retirement, is wasting no time establishing his authority.
Kirby cut 13 high-level executives in a cash-saving move on Friday as the coronavirus pandemic has throttled the industry financially. A day earlier, he told an online investor conference that the airline absolutely would not declare bankruptcy, and that he thought flying was safe enough to not block the middle seats on planes from being sold.
Well, he did build a reputation as an open – some might say abrasive – executive while at American Airlines.
Kirby is eliminating 13 of United’s 67 officer positions, all effective on Oct. 1. That’s the day after the restrictions on firing employees runs out per the federal government’s rules for airlines accepting billions of dollars in stimulus package grants and loans.
“While there are glimmers of good news in our July schedule — we expect to be down about 75% versus 90% right now — travel demand is still a very long way from where it was at the end of last year and the financial impact on our business remains severe,” United said in a written statement as reported by CNBC.
The cuts are in response to the loss of nearly 90 percent of business for United and all airlines, as the demand for travel has dropped dramatically compared to last year and beyond.
But Kirby defiantly said during the investor conference a day before that he has no plans for the airline to go bankrupt.
“Zero percent, no chance,” Kirby said. “It’s worse for shareholders. It’s worse for creditors. It’s worse for employees. It’s worse for every constituent that we have.”
To that end, Kirby also said he won’t sacrifice potential sales by blocking middle seats, as some airlines have done. As the blog The Points Guy noted, Kirby said the airline’s cleaning process, air circulation and a requirement for passengers and crew to wear face masks make it a safe experience.
“Airplanes don’t have social distancing — we’re not going to be six feet apart,” he said. “But an airplane environment is incredibly safe.”
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