Airlines halt most NYC flights amid escalating coronavirus fears
Airlines are drastically cutting service to and from the New York City area as the feds urge travelers to avoid the nation’s largest coronavirus hotspot.
American Airlines plans to operate just 13 flights a day out of JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty airports from this week to May 6 — down 95 percent from a daily average of 271 flights in April 2019, the Texas-based carrier said. Most of the cuts will take effect Tuesday, though trips from Newark to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport won’t be suspended until Thursday.
The move came on the heels of United Airlines’ Saturday announcement that it would reduce daily flights at Newark and LaGuardia from 157 to just 17. The Chicago-based carrier does not fly out of JFK.
The cuts followed the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s March 28 advisory against all non-essential travel to and from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The Big Apple has become the US epicenter of the coronavirus crisis with nearly 65,000 cases and more than 2,400 deaths as of Sunday.
David Seymour, senior vice president of operations at American, attributed his airline’s cuts to the CDC’s warning along with “rapidly evaporating” demand for travel to and from the New York area. American Airlines will only operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the three airports so no planes or crew members have to stay in the area overnight, the company told employees Sunday.
“This limited New York service will continue to provide critical connectivity for our customers, including transportation for any essential personnel and goods needed by the community and medical professionals battling the disease,” Seymour told employees in a letter.
Smaller carriers have made similar reductions.
Budget airline Spirit has suspended flights through at least May 4 at LaGuardia and Newark along with airports serving Hartford, Connecticut and upstate Niagara Falls and Plattsburgh. And JetBlue will cut daily flights to and from four local airports by as much as 80 percent, the Queens-based company said last week.
Even more trips could be eliminated as President Trump considers halting flights to US cities hit hardest by the deadly coronavirus. The pandemic has delivered a beating to the airline industry, prompting Congress to include some $50 billion in aid for passenger carriers in the $2 trillion stimulus bill passed last month.
American’s stock price was down 1.1 percent in premarket trading at $9.28 as of 7:34 a.m. while United shares were recently down about 3 percent at $22.20 and Spirit’s were off 0.1 percent at $10.50. JetBlue shares were recently up 0.4 percent at $7.51.
With Post Wires
Source : Noah Manskar Link