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U.S. Airlines Announce Significant Schedule Changes
While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastic effect on air travel across the world, the airline industry continues to bounce back as the world begins to reopen. The most recent airline route announcements come courtesy of American Airlines and United Airlines. United Airlines announced that it would be adding close to 25,000 flights to their August schedule, while American laid out plans for international schedules through the summer of 2021.
American’s New International Schedule
American Airlines announced an adjusted international schedule for the remainder of this year and summer 2021 on the back of significantly lower demand. The summer 2021 long-haul schedule will represent a capacity cut of 25% when compared to summer 2019. The most significant changes include the dropping of numerous international routes from its hubs in Los Angeles and Philadelphia, as well as the addition of new long-haul flying from Seattle.
Notable changes to the schedule include the application for American to fly from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Shanghai Pudong International Airport, utilizing feed from Alaska Airlines, which plans on joining the oneworld Alliance in 2021. This announcement marks American’s third international route from Seattle, joining flights to London and Bangalore, India. The Bangalore flight will start in winter 2021 and London flights will begin in the summer.
Along with the build-up in Seattle, the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier announced it would be exiting numerous international routes out of Los Angeles. These routes include Hong Kong; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Beijing and Shanghai. The airline will still operate international flights to Sydney, London, and Auckland. Flights to Australia will resume in the summer of 2021, with the start of service to New Zealand being delayed until the winter of 2021.
On the trans-Atlantic side of the airline’s international business, American said it would not be starting its previously announced flights from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago to Budapest, Hungary; Prague, Czech Republic and Krakow, Poland. The airline also stated that it would not start it highly anticipated Philadelphia to Casablanca, Morocco route. Philadelphia’s major international destinations which include London, Madrid, Dublin, and Paris all will not resume until either the winter of 2020 and the summer of 2021.
While most of the international adjustments that were made are relatively far into the future, the airline did announce two international routes that will resume in August. On Aug. 5, the airline will resume service to Santiago, Chile from their main South American gateway in Miami. The following day, American will resume flights to Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo.
The airline stated that its main hub at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport would become its main hub for trans-Pacific flying while Philadelphia would remain as the main trans-Atlantic hub after European Union travel restrictions are lifted.
United Significantly Increases Flying
While American announced major international changes, United Airlines announced many more short-haul changes. Although the Chicago-based airline will only operate 40% of its overall schedule in August when compared to August 2019, it will add an additional 25,000 domestic and international flights.
In a press release, Ankit Gupta, United’s vice president of domestic network planning, said, “Demand is coming back slowly and we’re building in enough capacity to stay ahead of the number of people traveling.”
United will double the number of flights from its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport, just outside of New York City. Along with the increased presence in New York, the airline is adding over 600 daily flights while also resuming 50 routes that are not being operated in July. Hawaii, which has had some of the strongest travel restrictions in the U.S., will see increased flying from United’s hubs.
In order for the airline to operate the significant increase in flying, United will be returning around 90 aircraft to service along with the introduction of more Bombardier CRJ-550 aircraft into the fleet.
The airline is also resuming some international service with a 9% increase in cross-border traffic for the month. Highlights of resumed international flying to Europe include the resumption of Brussels flights from both Chicago and Newark. United will also resume flights from San Francisco to London and will also restart flights to Delhi, pending government approval.
Along with increased flying across the Atlantic, United will resume service to Hong Kong from San Francisco and will continue on from there to Singapore. Although the airline is already flying daily flights from both Newark and San Francisco to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, it will start a new service to Tokyo from Chicago O’Hare.
United’s biggest international expansion comes in the Latin American and Caribbean markets with the resumption of 35 routes in August. Notable cities seeing service resumed include Lima, Peru; São Paulo; Mexico City and Guatemala City.
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