Routes: Airlines worldwide take an ax to spring schedules

Routes: Airlines worldwide take an ax to spring schedules

We’re being flooded with so much news about airline schedule revisions, and it’s coming so fast and furious, that it’s hard to keep up. Many of these changes affect travel to and from the Bay Area, both domestic and international. So this week, we’re presenting an airline-by-airline roundup of the latest changes.

The biggest news is that United plans to cut nearly all its international flying– down 95 percent, according to a notice sent out late Friday night. See below for details.

As new restrictions on entry imposed by many nations – including the U.S. — the volume of air travel has fallen off a cliff in the past week or so, and it keeps going down. That’s why airlines are cutting so many flights. On Thursday, the U.S. Department of State issued a rare “Global Level 4 Health Advisory” urging U.S. citizens to “avoid all international travel” due to the coronavirus.

We’ll start with North American airlines listed in alphabetical order, and then get into foreign carriers. Keep in mind that all airline schedules now are subject to change without notice.

Please note that these are the latest schedule reductions from this week, in addition to those previously announced.


Air Canada. San Francisco will still have some Air Canada service. The airline said this week its overall capacity from April through June will shrink by 50 percent year-over-year, including a 75 percent reduction in transpacific markets. The reductions will happen “in all key markets affected by COVID-19 or by travel restrictions,” the company said. “From April 1, Air Canada will reduce its transborder network from 53 airports to 13, subject to further reductions based on demand or government edicts,” Air Canada said. “The cities with continued service will be: New York (LGA and EWR), Boston, Washington, D.C. (IAD and DCA), Chicago, Houston, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.”

Alaska Airlines. Alaska said this week it expects to reduce its overall capacity by 10 percent in April and 15 percent in May. It didn’t identify any specific markets being dropped but said it would initially reduce flight frequencies on its busiest routes.

American Airlines. From now through May 6, American is reducing international capacity by 75 percent. It will keep flying once a day to London Heathrow from Dallas/Ft. Worth and Miami and three days a week from DFW to Tokyo Narita. All other service to Asia not already suspended has now been cut. By March 23, American will have ended all Europe service other than the few routes mentioned above.

To South America, AA has suspended service from New York JFK and Miami to Rio de Janeiro and Georgetown, Guyana; from JFK, DFW, Los Angeles and Miami to Sao Paulo; from DFW and Miami to Santiago, Bogota, Guayaquil, Quito and Lima; and from Miami to Brasilia and Manus in Brazil and to the Colombian cities of Barranquilla, Cartagena, Cali, Medellin and Pereira. (American said it will use some of its grounded widebodies for cargo-only flights on select internat4inal routes.)

On the domestic side, American said its April capacity will be 20 percent less than last year, and May capacity will be down 30 percent. You can see all the details here, with additional specifics from here.

In addition, American has temporarily closed Admirals Club lounges at Paris CDG, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires as well as its Flagship Lounge at London Heathrow. Temporary lounge closures in the U.S. include the Admirals Clubs at Gate D15 in MIA, near Gate A20 at PHX, in Terminal 5 at LAX, Terminal E at DFW, and the G and L concourses at Chicago O’Hare.

Delta. This week, Delta added more international service suspensions to the ones previously announced to Asia and Europe. It has discontinued Atlanta-Paris CDG flights, its last remaining service to France.

To Africa, New York JFK-Accra, Ghana service has ended, and Delta’s last Atlanta-Johannesburg flight will depart March 22. Atlanta-Santiago, Chile service will be suspended March 25 at least through April 1.

From March 23-April 12, Delta’s Costa Rica schedule will be cut in half between Atlanta-San Jose and LAX-San Jose; service to Liberia, Costa Rica will be suspended from LAX and Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Atlanta-Liberia will be reduced to two flights a week. All service to San Salvador, El Salvador has been cut through April 3; Bermuda flights from Boston and JFK are suspended through March 31; and service to Grand Cayman from Atlanta, Detroit and Minneapolis is suspended through mid-April.

You can see a full list of Delta’s current schedule changes here. Meanwhile, Delta said it is closing “the majority” of its Sky Club lounges until business picks up again. The airline has also posted an update to its change/cancellation policies.

Hawaiian Airlines. For the month of April, Hawaiian is suspending its second daily frequency (using an A321neo) between San Francisco-Honolulu but will continue to operate one daily A330 flight; it is also cutting SFO-Maui schedules from seven flights a week to five. San Jose-Honolulu and SJC-Maui service will shrink from seven flights a week to five during April, and so will Oakland-Kauai service. Hawaiian is dropping April service between Las Vegas and Maui but will maintain daily LAS-Honolulu flights. Frequencies are being reduced on Hawaiian’s routes to Los Angeles, Phoenix, Boston, New York and Seattle, but other domestic routes are unaffected for now. (Note: Hawaii’s governor this week asked visitors to postpone trips to the islands for the next 30 days.)

JetBlue. In an announcement this week, JetBlue said it will ground some aircraft and will reduce its overall capacity by 40 percent or more in April and May, followed by “substantial cuts” in June and July. It didn’t mention the impact on specific routes. “We will be notifying customers of their specific cancellations in a phased approach so that we do not overwhelm Customer Support as they continue to receive exponentially more calls than they ever have before,” JetBlue said.

Southwest. In a financial filing this week, Southwest said it expects to cut its overall capacity by 20 percent or more from April 14 through June 5, with revised schedules to be revealed soon. It cited “dramatic declines” in March bookings and “an unprecedented increase in close-in trip cancellations.”

United. As we reported earlier this week, United plans to suspend service during April from San Francisco to 18 U.S. destinations: Nashville, Baltimore/Washington, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Madison, Omaha, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, San Antonio, St. Louis, Tampa, Mammoth (Calif.), Ft. Lauderdale, New Orleans and Fayetteville, N.C.. Across the northern border, SFO-Toronto flights are being dropped.

At Mineta San Jose, non-stop United service to Houston and Chicago O’Hare is also getting the axe. However, access to all those points (except Mammoth) is still available by connecting through Denver or other United hubs.

United said late Friday that it is reducing its international schedule by 95 percent for April. It will first draw down its entire remaining trans-Atlantic operation by the end of March. It will reduce all remaining trans-Pacific flights by March 28, except for a few Guam island hopper flights. After March 24, it will only maintain a small number of daytime flights to certain destinations in Mexico, and it will also eliminate all its remaining Central and South America operations. The last southbound departures will take place March 24.  And finally it  will temporarily suspend all flying to Canada effective April 1. So basically, United will only offer domestic flights by the end of this month.


Cathay Pacific has cut nearly all its flights, including San Francisco-Hong Kong, which it used to fly three times a day. Photo: Chris McGinnis

Cathay Pacific has cut nearly all its flights, including San Francisco-Hong Kong, which it used to fly three times a day.

Aeroflot. Russian carrier Aeroflot this week suspended service from Moscow Sheremetyevo through April 30 to Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington Dulles, and cut back its New York JFK schedule from three daily flights to two.

Air New Zealand. From March 30 through June 3, Air New Zealand will suspend flights from Auckland to San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, Honolulu and Vancouver as part of an 85 percent capacity draw-down. Its Los Angeles-London service is also being suspended on those dates.

All Nippon Airways (ANA). In an update this week, ANA said it is continuing daily service from San Francisco to Tokyo Narita and three weekly flights from SFO to Tokyo Haneda. However, the start of its new daily service from San Jose to Tokyo Haneda has been pushed back to April 25. A second daily LAX-Haneda frequency has also been delayed to April 25. Chicago-Haneda and New York JFK-Haneda service has been suspended, and frequencies have been reduced between Seattle and Haneda from seven weekly flights to four.

Air France. Effective March 23, Air France said, its only North American service will be to New York, Los Angeles, Montreal and Mexico City “to enable French and European nationals to return home.”

Air Tahiti Nui. Long-haul service by Air Tahiti Nui between Papeete and Paris CDG via a stop in Los Angeles has been rerouted. Through April 13, the flight will now bypass LAX and stop in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe in the French Caribbean.

Austrian Airlines. From now through March 28, Austrian Airlines has suspended all service.

Avianca. Colombian carrier Avianca on March 23 will suspend all international service and ground 132 aircraft.

British Airways. According to, British Airways has suspended its San Jose-London Heathrow flights through April 16, along with service between LHR and Las Vegas, Orlando, Tampa, Austin, Baltimore/Washington, Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Nashville, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh and San Diego.

Brussels Airlines. Lufthansa subsidiary Brussels Airlines has temporarily suspended all flights through April 19.

Cathay Pacific. In its latest update this week, Cathay Pacific said it is cutting capacity by 96 percent in April and May, paring its international service down to a “skeleton schedule” – and it doesn’t include San Francisco. The airline will operate just three flights a week to 12 destinations, including Los Angeles and Vancouver in North America along with London, Sydney, and eight Asian cities.

Egyptair. The Egyptian government has ordered an end to all international air traffic at the country’s Egyptian airports from now through March 31. That includes Egyptair’s service from Cairo to New York JFK and Washington Dulles.

Emirates. Dubai-based Emirates has canceled Athens-Newark and Dubai-Ft. Lauderdale flights through March 31 and Dubai-Milan-New York JFK service through April 3.

French Bee has suspended all flights between San Francisco and Papeete, Tahiti and Paris through April 10.

Japan Airlines. JAL said it is suspending flights to various North American destinations on specific dates through the end of March, including SFO service to Tokyo Haneda on March 21, 23, 25 and 27. You can see the dates for other routes here.

LOT Polish Airlines. LOT said this week it has cancelled all service through March 28. However, service to the U.S. will remain suspended at least through April 13, including flights from Warsaw to New York JFK and Chicago and from Krakow to Chicago, and from Warsaw to Los Angeles, Miami and Newark, and from Budapest to JFK.

Lufthansa. Starting March 23, Lufthansa’s U.S. schedule will include just three flights a week to Frankfurt from Newark and Chicago, “essentially geared to the needs of European citizens who want to return to their home countries,” the airline said, and its Swiss affiliate will operate three weekly flights from Newark to Zurich.

Norwegian. Low-cost carrier Norwegian reported this week it has laid off 7,300 employees and grounded most of its fleet. All transatlantic flights are suspended effective March 21, and the airline will only operate a limited schedule within Scandinavia and Europe. “Limited schedule will remain in place until at least April 17 but will be reviewed on a regular basis in line with changes in travel restrictions and demand,” the company said. Late this week, the Norwegian government agreed to provide the airline with up to $278 million in aid subject to certain conditions.

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Qantas. Last week, we reported that Qantas planned to axe its San Francisco-Brisbane and SFO-Melbourne flights from April 18 through mid-September. But now the Australian carrier’s cutbacks have gone way beyond that. This week, Qantas said it is grounding almost all of its widebodies and slashing international service by 90 percent. It is phasing out almost all of its international routes from next week through May 31, including San Francisco service to Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne; LAX-Brisbane, LAX-Melbourne, JFK-LAX-Sydney, Dallas/Ft. Worth-Sydney and Honolulu-Sydney.

Royal Air Maroc. The Moroccan airline has halted all international service at least through April 30, including flights from Casablanca to New York JFK and Washington Dulles.

Scandinavian Airlines. SAS said it has put “most of its operations on hold” until further notice.

Singapore Airlines. The latest schedule update from Singapore Airlines shows cancellation of a substantial number of San Francisco flights on specific dates through June. You can click here for a listing of the dates when the airline’s flights SQ1/2 and SQ 33/34 will not operate. (Ditto for LAX-Singapore flights.)

South African Airways. Currently going through a financial restructuring, SAA said this week it has halted all international operations through May 31, including its flights to New York and Washington Dulles. It noted the South African government has issued a ban on passenger arrivals from “high-risk countries,” including the U.S., U.K. and Germany.

TAP Air Portugal. From now through April 30, TAP has canceled service from Lisbon to San Francisco, JFK, Washington Dulles and Chicago, and from Porto to Newark. From March 23 through April 19, it will operate two flights a week from Lisbon to Boston, Miami, Newark and Toronto.

Virgin Atlantic. In a statement this week, Virgin Atlantic said it will reduce its operations 80 percent by March 26. In its latest route revisions filed this week, we didn’t see anything about San Francisco, but the airline does plan to end its London-Newark service permanently and to suspend LHR-Atlanta, Boston, Miami, Las Vegas, Seattle and Washington Dulles service through April 12, as well as Manchester flights from JFK, Las Vegas and Orlando. LAX-LHR frequencies will be cut from two a day to one through April 12, and Virgin’s JFK-LHR schedule will be scaled back from multiple flights a day to just one.
Virgin Australia. On March 20, Virgin Australia is suspending LAX-Melbourne service through June 14. Then on March 30, it will eliminate the rest of its international routes through that same date, including LAX-Sydney.

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Chris McGinnis is SFGATE’s senior travel correspondent. You can reach him via email or follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Don’t miss a shred of important travel news by signing up for his FREE biweekly email updates!

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