An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 flight from Los Angeles approaches for landing at Reagan National Airport. File photo: REUTERS/JOSHUA ROBERTS
An American Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 flight from Los Angeles approaches for landing at Reagan National Airport. File photo: REUTERS/JOSHUA ROBERTS

Dallas, US — American Airlines will slash daily flights from New York-area airports by 95%, joining United Airlines in eliminating most operations in the nation’s largest city as the increase in Covid-19 cases guts travel demand.

Daily departures from New York’s LaGuardia airport will tumble to eight on Tuesday through May 6, with a drop to three at John F Kennedy International, American Airlines told employees late on Sunday. Departures from New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International will fall to two on April 9, bringing the total for the three airports to 13. That compares with an average of 271 in April 2019.

The depth of American Airlines’ reductions underscores the rush to scale back operations by all US airlines, which are applying for federal aid to shore up their finances as passengers stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic. New York has been an epicentre of the outbreak in the US, with more than 4,000 fatalities so far.

The metropolitan area’s three airports will only operate from 10am to 6pm and no aircraft or crews will remain overnight, David Seymour, American Airlines’ senior vice-president of operations, said in a memo. Seating on the flights will be limited so passengers can maintain a safe distance from each other.

United Airlines began cutting its daily flights from its hub in Newark to 15 from 139 on Sunday. The airline will reduce flights at LaGuardia to two from 18.

Bloomberg