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United Airlines will now cut its domestic flights by 52%

United Airlines, which had already announced drastic cuts to its domestic and international schedule, today announced even deeper cuts. While the carrier was originally planning to cut 42 percent of its domestic schedule, that number is now up to 52 percent as demand for flights continues to dwindle in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, across domestic and international flights, United will reduce capacity by 68 percent in April.

The revised schedule will be available on United’s website later today. When the airline announced the first round of cuts, it stressed that it wasn’t leaving any of the cities it previously flew to without service but it’s unclear if this will still be the case now. We have contacted United for more details and will update this post once we learn more about these cuts.

United, just like all other U.S. airlines, had already cut most of its international flights. And like virtually all global airlines, the current downturn hit the company right in the middle of a boom in demand for its services and while it was actually routinely expanding its schedule.

Like others, United is now also using empty passenger planes to fly cargo. It’s Star Alliance partner Lufthansa is doing the same and now going as far as loading cargo onto seats and into overhead bins. For the most part, though, airlines are now parking their fleets and drawing down their schedules as they wait for the pandemic to end and demand to pick up again. Chances are, they will also get substantial government support during this time, though the details of what that will look like are still up in the air.

American Airlines cuts long-haul international flights by 75%

American Airlines said it will suspend 75% of its long-haul international flights from the U.S., beginning March 16 in response to decreased demand and government travel restrictions put in place to lessen the spread of COVID-19.

American Airlines had already reduced its capacity. This latest move, which was announced Saturday evening, will slash international capacity 75% year-over-year. The suspended service will last through May 6, the airline said, adding that it will cut back on flights gradually over the next seven days to re-accommodate passengers and crew.

American Airlines said it will continue to operate one flight daily from Dallas-Fort Worth to London, one flight daily from Miami to London. It will also continue to fly three times a week from Dallas to Tokyo . American Airlines will also continue short-haul international flying, which includes flights to Canada, Mexico, Caribbean, Central America and certain markets in the northern part of South America. American Airlines said it anticipates its domestic capacity in April will be reduced by 20% compared to last year and May’s domestic capacity will be reduced by 30% on a year-over-year basis.

Other airlines have reduced capacity, including Delta, Lufthansa and United. However, American Airlines’ actions surpass other reductions in service.

The reductions follow an executive order by President Donald Trump last week to ban non-U.S. citizens who are from or have recently been in China, Iran or 26 European countries from traveling to the United States for the next 30 days. The ban was extended on Friday to Ireland and the UK.

The Department of Homeland Security has also issued a Notice of Arrival Restrictions that requires American citizens, legal permanent residents and their immediate families who are returning home to the U.S. to travel through one of 13 airports upon arrival to the U.S., and then submit to an enhanced entry screening. They must then self-quarantine for 14 days once they reach their final destination, according to Homeland Security.

The 30-day travel ban does not apply to U.S. citizens or cargo.

Delta Air Lines reduces capacity by 40%

Industries across the spectrum are struggling to meet the challenges that the current Coronavirus outbreak presents. Few, though, are as immediately impacted as the airlines (and all the third-party companies that provide services to them), which have seen an immediate and drastic reduction in demand.

As Delta CEO Ed Bastian noted in a letter to the company’s staff today, the company is now seeing more cancellations than new bookings over the next month. And as a result of this, Delta now expects a capacity reduction of 40 percent in the next few months, “the largest capacity reduction in Delta’s history, including 2001.” Only a few days ago, Delta was looking at a 15 percent capacity cut.

Unlike some of its competitors, including United and American, Delta says it is also eliminating all of its flights to continental Europe for the next 30 days (and that could still be extended). For Delta, this means parking 300 aircraft. The company has also announced a hiring freeze and is now offering voluntary unpaid leaves, too.

“We’ll be making more critical decisions on our response in days to come,” Bastian writes. “The situation is fluid and likely to be getting worse. But what hasn’t changed is this: Delta remains better-positioned to weather a storm of this magnitude than ever before in our history. We’ve spent a decade building a strong, resilient airline powered by the best professionals in the business. We will get through this, and taking strong, decisive action now will ensure that we are properly positioned to recover our business when customers start to travel again.”

Delta isn’t alone in this move. American Airlines has reduced its international capacity by 34 percent. Lufthansa already said it’s planning to reduce capacity by 50 percent and potentially grounding all of its A380s. Discounter Norwegian has furloughed half of its staff and grounded 40 percent of its long-haul fleet.

The way things are going, the airline industry will look quite different once this crisis ends. For Delta especially, this is a far cry from keynoting CES and introducing a bunch of new technology solutions. Only a few months ago, after all, the airline industry was still in the middle of a boom. Now, the focus isn’t on shiny new tech but simply making it through the next few months.