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American Airlines Bets Big On Vaccination Drive to Boost Travel Demand

American Airlines Bets Big On Vaccination Drive to Boost Travel Demand

American Airlines is placing its bets on the continued success of the US vaccination rollout to bring the pandemic to a swift end and with it a resurgence in travel demand. The airline said on Wednesday that it planned to operate 90 percent of domestic seat capacity this summer compared to 2019 and 80 percent of international capacity.

The optimism from American’s Vice President of Network Planning Brian Znotins came just a day after travel and airlines stocks tumbled after a recommendation by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to temporarily stop the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine over blood clot fears.

Attempting to allay fears, the Biden administration has reassured the American people that there are still more than enough vaccine doses to go around from Pfizer / BioNTech and Modena and that the mammoth inoculation campaign is still on track despite the latest setback.

“Throughout the pandemic, our trademark has been to build a schedule based on what customers tell us they want and need,” commented Znotins. “And today, they are telling us they’re eager to get back to travel. With our summer schedule, we can offer customers the best network and continue welcoming them safely back to the skies.”

American announced plans today to operate more than 150 new routes this summer, alongside a significant surge in capacity. The airline previously announced plans to get all its planes flying by the end of the year – although American’s fleet is still smaller than before the pandemic after the crisis hastened aircraft retirements.

The airline will deploy some of its widebody long-haul aircraft on shorter from Miami to Latin America and Caribbean routes to match increased demand to these destinations. Capacity across American’s international route network, however, will remain down 20 percent compared to 2019 owing to lingering travel restrictions.

Photo Credit: Markus Mainka / Shutterstock.com

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