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United Airlines Plans to Triple the Size of its Flying Schedule in August

United Airlines Plans to Triple the Size of its Flying Schedule in August

United Airlines plans to fly 40 per cent of its pre-COVID schedule in August, with around 25,000 domestic and international flights added to what the airline will be operating in July. At present, total passenger numbers passing through U.S. airports are between 20 – 25 per cent of last year’s numbers but are slowly increasing despite a spike in Coronavirus infections across a slew of southern States.

“While travel demand remains a fraction of what it was at the end of 2019, customers are slowly returning to flying with a preference for leisure destinations, trips to reunite with friends and family, and getaways to places that encourage social distancing,” A spokesperson explained. United declined, however, to offer any estimates of when business travellers might return to the skies.

Unsurprisingly, given continuing international border restrictions, especially for American travelers, United will mainly be targeting domestic flights with plans to operate nearly half of its 2019 schedule by August. Around 90 aircraft with be put back into service and 600 daily flights added at around 200 airports across the United States.

Approximately 50 routes which were suspended at the height of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions will also be reopened.

Most international services, though, will remain suspended for the time being. On its transatlantic route network, United will operate around a quarter of its original scheduled flights – a 9 per cent increase on flights compared to July. There are also plans to restart flights from San Francisco to Dehli, although that’s highly dependent on when Indian authorities give the go-ahead.

“United’s international schedule continues to be guided by customer demand as we add back capacity in regions with relative strength,” commented Patrick Quayle, United’s VP of International Network and Alliances. “For August, we’ve seen increasing demand for leisure travel and have added options to places like Cancun and reinstated service to Tahiti,” he continued.

“Additionally, we are further building out service to partner hubs like Frankfurt and Zurich, where customers can connect on to a wide array of destinations.”

But no one expects flight schedules to get anywhere close to 2019’s levels anytime soon – most airlines and analysts expect a full recovery to take between two to three years. Yesterday, the chief executive of aircraft manufacturer Airbus warned it might be 2025 before the industry fully gets goes over the Corona crisis.

American Airlines announced on Wednesday its intention to slash its long-haul international network by at least 25 per cent come summer 2021. The airline’s chief revenue officer, Vasu Raja said COVID-19 had “forced” the Dallas Fort Worth-based carrier to reevaluate its network.

“American will have a significantly smaller international network in the year ahead,” Vasu warned but claimed the airline was using it as an opportunity to “hit reset and create a network using the strength of our strategic hubs that we can build and grow upon and be profitable on in this new environment.”

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