American Airlines cutting international flights by 75% amid demand collapse

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) – American Airlines Inc <AAL.O> said Saturday it plans to cut 75% of its international flights through May 6 and ground nearly all its widebody fleet, as airlines respond to the global collapse in travel demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The dramatic announcement by the largest U.S. airline came hours after the White House said the United States would widen new travel restrictions on Europeans to include travelers in the United Kingdom and Ireland, starting Monday night.

The Trump administration also signaled Saturday it wanted Congress to quickly back financial support for troubled U.S. airlines.

American’s sweeping cuts include suspending nearly all long-haul international flights to Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand and South America.

It will still operate two flights a day to London and just three flights to Asia per week — to Tokyo. It will continue short-haul international flying.

American confirmed it is parking nearly all widebody aircraft and anticipates its domestic capacity will be reduced by 20% in April and 30% in May versus the same period in 2019.

United Airlines Co <UAL.O> said late Saturday it would begin cutting flights to the United Kingdom, Southwest Airlines <LUV.N> moved toward flight cuts and Delta Airlines Inc <DAL.N> plans to start cutting flights to the United Kingdom.

Southwest, one of the few U.S. airlines still flying a full schedule, said it was “seriously considering” cutting flights.

While airlines scrambled to stem losses and protect jobs, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the government would “immediately” start working with Congress to support the airline and cruise industries, both hard hit by the spiraling crisis.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said restrictions on the UK and Ireland will begin Monday at midnight, barring most non-U.S. citizens from entering the United States who have been in those countries within the last 14 days.

Source: Reuters

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