American Airlines plans to slash flights in the US next month and expand reductions in international service as the coronavirus outbreak tanks demand for air travel.
The Texas-based carrier said it will cut domestic capacity by 7.5 percent in April compared to its current schedule in response to the decreased demand, following similar moves by rival airlines United and JetBlue.
“The airline will decrease frequencies in markets with robust schedule patterns and will cancel routes where customers can be easily reaccommodated,” American said in a Tuesday statement.
American also plans to reduce international capacity by 10 percent during the “summer peak,” including a 55 percent cut to trans-Pacific flights, the company said. Its flights from Los Angeles and Dallas to mainland China — where the coronavirus epidemic originated — will remain suspended through the summer, according to the statement.
American’s reductions were just the latest sign that the virus outbreak has hit demand for domestic as well as international travel. Chicago-based United has said it will cut US and Canada flights by 10 percent in April, and JetBlue plans to reduce capacity by roughly 5 percent, according to Reuters.
American is also further reducing service to parts of Italy, where the government expanded travel restrictions to the entire country on Monday to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The airline said it is suspending flights to Rome from Philadelphia through the end of April and from Chicago and Charlotte through early summer. Its suspension on service to Milan has also been extended, the company said.
British Airways also canceled all Tuesday flights to and from Italy in light of the Italian government’s quarantine measures and the UK government’s advice against non-essential travel to the country.
“We have updated our policy to give customers more options and flexibility,” British Airways said in a statement. “Any travelers due to fly to or from Italy between now and April 4 can rebook to a later date up until the end of May, move their destination to Geneva or Zurich or receive a full refund.”