Airlines Seek Waivers to Suspend Flights to Over 25 Airports
Struggling U.S. airlines must keep flying if they accept government funds provided by the CARES Ac. The law requires participating airlines to maintain minimum service levels to all U.S. destinations served before March 1 unless they are granted an exemption. The requirement, which doesn’t include international flights, would be in effect through September 30 but is subject to extension.
While that requirement maintains air service to and from major airports, it also means that there are flights with just a handful of passengers. As travel demand has fallen by more than 95%, we have already seen several stories of lone passengers on a flight receiving special treatment.
Now Delta Air Lines, JetBlue and Spirit Airlines have asked the U.S. Transportation Department for approval to suspend flights to more than two dozen U.S. airports. JetBlue wants to halt flights to 16 U.S. airports, including Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Dallas and Detroit.
Delta wants to suspend flights to nine airports, including Hilton Head, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The airline says that just 1 to 14 passengers flew daily each way from those nine airports Yahoo reports.
Spirit Airlines asked the department for approval to suspend flights to Charlotte, North Carolina, Denver, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Seattle, Portland and Phoenix.
The U.S. Transportation Department has received many similar requests for waivers, but until now has approved only a very small fraction.