With COVID-19 raging in New York and demand continuing to sink, airlines are responding by drastically slashing already-reduced service from the Big Apple.
Over 120,000 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in New York State, with over half of those cases being in New York City. New Jersey and Connecticut have also been hard-hit. That further reduces the need for air service.
American Airlines Reduces New York Service By 90%
American Airlines, which has a hub at New York JFK and considers New York LGA a focus city, will drastically reduce service. In a memo to employees, David Seymour, American’s Senior Vice President of Operations, said:
“As coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in New York City and the surrounding region continues to increase, along with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for travel to the area, the demand for flights to the New York area is rapidly evaporating.”
American will drop its number of departures from La Guardia from 170 last April to only eight per day this month. Meanwhile, American will drop its number of JFK departures from 80 per day last April to only three per day this month. Even its flagship New York – Los Angeles route will be suspended, a route AA has run continuously for 80 years.
American will maintain service to Newark from both Dallas and Charlotte.
The new schedule will run through May 6th.
JetBlue Reduces New York Service By 80%
JetBlue was first to act, cutting its nearly 200 flights in the New York metropolitan to just 40 per day.
Furthermore (not that it probably has to do anything based upon present demand), JetBlue is “capping flight loads to ensure social distancing onboard”.
The flight reductions will run through the end of April.
United Airlines Reduces New York Service By 90%
In a letter Newark and LaGuardia employees, United Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Greg Hart framed the flight suspension as a means of protecting employees:
“As the situation in New York and New Jersey worsens, we are taking another major step at Newark and LaGuardia to help keep our employees safe and play our part in helping to mitigate the spread of the outbreak in the Tri-State area.”
United will drop it number of daily departures from Newark to 15, from 139 (a number already greatly reduced from historic norms). In doing so, United will drop its destinations served from 62 to nine at EWR.
Meanwhile, United will drop from 18 daily departures to four destinations at La Guardia to two daily flights to only one destination, Chicago O’Hare.
The new schedule will remain in effect “for at least the next three weeks”.
Spirit Airlines has also suspended service to New York through May 4th, leaving only Delta operating more than a handful of daily flights from the New York area. Based upon load factors, I’d expect Delta to shortly follow, though. As U.S. government officials warn that the worst two weeks of COVID-19 are upon us, the flights suspensions simply make sense.
image: Tomás Del Coro