Major global airlines are slashing flights to the United States this month, as the coronavirus-induced fall in travel demand creates uncertainty surrounding the viability of continued service.
The Hong Kong-based airline reported that passenger numbers to the US dropped by 68 percent in March, according to an airline press release.
Cathay will continue to operate 2 return services per week to Los Angeles, a far-cry from the 120 weekly services usually operated to the US.
In a memo by Cathay Pacific leadership, obtained exclusively by Danny Lee at SCMP, regret was expressed for the decision, which will ultimately furlough 300 US-based cabin crew.
“We have considered a number of different options however, as the crisis continues to deepen, after the most thorough of considerations this very difficult decision has been made. A timeline for recovery still remains impossible to predict, with the current challenging business environment, I’m afraid that it is no longer viable to sustain the US bases.”Jeanette Mao, General Manager, Inflight Service Delivery at Cathay Pacific
The Lufthansa Group has scaled back flights to the US to the bare minimum, as the airline seeks to maintain “at least some air traffic connections” between Europe and the US, according to a company statement.
For the indefinite future the Lufthansa Group, which includes Swiss International Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Lufthansa Airlines, will suspend flights to the US, with only essential exceptions remaining:
- Frankfurt to Chicago (Lufthansa)
- Frankfurt to Newark (Lufthansa)
- Zurich to Chicago (SWISS)
- Zurich to Newark (SWISS)
- Vienna to Chicago (Austrian Airlines)
- Brussels to Washington DC (Brussels Airlines)
Lufthansa Group has explained that the mass cuts to their US network are mainly due to new US Government travel restrictions on the European Union.
“Passengers will still be able to reach all destinations within the USA via the U.S. hubs and connecting flights served by partner airline, United Airlines.“Lufthansa Group statement
Air France has drastically cut back flights to the US, with only essential flights operating at reduced frequencies.
A press release has revealed that the airline will continue to operate flights, however from Paris Charles De Gaulle to New York and Los Angeles only.
Air France has cut 90 percent of services, the new schedule is a large cutback from the 13 destinations normally served across the United States.
“We are working with the French and international authorities to adapt our flight schedule in real-time, in light of the evolving situation and new restrictions imposed on airlines. In order to ensure the return of our customers and to maintain regional services, we continue to operate scheduled flights at reduced frequencies.”Air France press release