American Airlines has already ‘unparked’ 64 aircraft that have been grounded since April because of the massive slump in travel demand caused by the Coronavirus pandemic and even more will follow in July. In an internal memo, the airline said that while customer demand remains nowhere near last year’s level, the last few weeks had seen a “positive trend when it comes to bookings” which meant more flights would be scheduled in the coming months.
At the height of the Corona crisis in April, American Airlines drew down its schedule by over 80 per cent, grounded hundreds of planes across the United States and announced the early retirement of around 80 aircraft, including its fleet of Boeing 757’s and 767’s.
Since then, American has added back around 10 per cent of capacity in June and even more flights will be added back in July. At the airline’s hub at Dallas Fort Worth, capacity will run at 40 per cent in July compared to 2019 according to the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) – an increase of over 13 per cent compared to June.
This months, 64, mainly single-aisle aircraft, have already been unparked. These include:
- 12 Airbus A320s
- 34 Boeing 737s
- 10 Boeing 777s
- 8 Boeing 787s
And in July, a further 141 aircraft will be unparked – again, American notes these planes will mainly be single-aisle aircraft which matches the uptick in domestic flying rather than international services which are still heavily restricted.
Data from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is showing a slow but steady increase in passenger numbers choosing to fly again. On June 7, the TSA recorded 441,255 passengers passing through airport security checkpoints across the United States. That’s the highest number since March although still 83 per cent down on the number of people who passed through checkpoints on the same day last year.
Despite the positive uptick in future bookings, demand is still well below last year’s levels and industry experts still believe it could take several years for the airline industry to fully recover.
Credit to @xJonNYC on Twitter
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.