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Trump Considers Cutting Flights Between Cities Hard-Hit by Coronavirus



Trump said Wednesday during his daily press briefing that he is reluctant to shut down the airlines and issue a national stay-at-home order, but did acknowledge that asking carriers to cut back on flights between cities hardest hit by the coronavirus is an option.

“You have them going, in some cases, from hot spot to hot spot,” Trump coronavirus-us-crisis-why-airlines-still-flying/2918233001/” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>said about airlines, but quickly added that “Once you do that you are clamping down on an industry that is desperately needed.”

Already, some have questioned why the airlines won’t stop flights between so-called ‘hot cities,’ particularly those that have been overwhelmed by the growing number of positive COVID-19 cases in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

But USA Today noted that even health experts say that the airlines are an essential service for both people and cargo. And, in Trump’s $2 trillion stimulus package signed last week that provides some $58 billion for the airline industry, one of the provisos was that airlines must maintain a minimum level of service until at least September.

However, some officials have implemented their own airline-related conditions. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered anyone flying to Florida from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut to self-isolate for 14 days. Alaska and Hawaii are also requiring anyone arriving from other states to self-quarantine.

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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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