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United Airlines Reinstating Some International Flights to Help Travelers Get Home

With the rapidly dwindling number of commercial flights available to those tens of thousands of Americans who are still stranded abroad and attempting to find a way home in the face of abrupt international border closures, United Airlines is doing its best to offer some solutions.

Just days ago, in response to the COVID-19 global health crisis, the White House issued a Level-4 Travel Advisory, the State Department’s most severe restriction, encouraging U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel and advising that those currently outside the country should “arrange for immediate return”.

Aware that U.S. residents still abroad are frightened, frustrated and faced with unprecedented travel challenges, United Airlines is revising its previous announcement (released March 20), which had promised a 95-percent reduction in the carrier’s international schedule for April 2020.

In an effort to help displaced travelers get where they need to go, United will continue flying six daily operations to and from select destinations in Asia, Australia, Latin America, Europe and the Middle East. While the airline’s international schedule will still be reduced by about 90-percent in April, United’s aim is to provide some additional options for those still struggling to get home.

Although a full listing of flights is available on the United Hub website, some specific routes set to continue through May 2020 include service between Newark/New York and Frankfurt, Newark/New York and London; Newark/New York and Tel Aviv; Houston and Sao Paulo; San Francisco and Sydney; and San Francisco and Tokyo-Narita.

Newly-reinstated outbound flights running through March 27 include United’s service between Newark/New York and Amsterdam; Newark/New York and Munich; Newark/New York and Brussels; Newark/New York and Sao Paulo; Washington-Dulles and London; and San Francisco and Frankfurt. Also, operating through March 29, service will connect San Francisco and Seoul.

For more information, visit united.com.

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United Airlines Reducing Capacity, Cutting Salaries

United Airlines is reducing capacity for April and May by 50 percent and cutting corporate officers’ salaries in half amid the global impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The airline’s CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby shared the alarming numbers in a message to United’s nearly 100,000 employees late Sunday.

“As you know, March is typically our busiest month of the year. But this year, in just the first two weeks of March, we have welcomed more than one million fewer customers on board our aircraft than the same period last year,” the executives said. “We’re also currently projecting that revenue in March will be $1.5 billion lower than last March.”

“The bad news is that it’s getting worse. We expect both the number of customers and revenue to decline sharply in the days and weeks ahead.”

Last week, United announced that Munoz and Kirby would forgo their base salaries through June 30 following a dramatic decline in bookings.

Despite these efforts, the United brass also told employees that it anticipates the deep cuts to extend into the peak summer travel period. “We’re expecting load factors to drop into the 20-30 percent range—and that’s if things don’t get worse,” added Munoz and Kirby.

United’s decreased capacity and pay cuts are quickly becoming the new norm for the airline industry as governments impose travel bans and restrictions on the advice of medical experts.

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