Needless to say, the airline industry worldwide has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Thousands of aircraft have been parked for months now, and it’ll be a long road back to some semblance of normalcy for the entire hospitality business, hotels and car rental companies included.
While passenger traffic bottomed out at next-to-nothing in April, a recovery of sorts, albeit what is expected to be a very slow and drawn out one, has hopefully begun. To assist U.S. airlines with their financial woes, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is allowing each airline to make permanent changes to their route systems. Specifically, each carrier can completely pull out of up to five markets, or 5% of their total markets served, whichever is greater.
Specific changes announced thus far include:
- United Airlines – eliminating service between Rochester (RST) International Airport and Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
- Sun Country Airlines – eliminating service between the Twin Cities and Madison (MSN), Philadelphia (PHL), Portland, OR (PDX), Sacramento (SMF) and St. Louis (STL)
- Delta Air LInes – eliminating service between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Williston, ND (XWA), Lincoln, NE (LNK), Ft. Smith, AR (FSM) and Aspen/Pitkin County, CO (ASE)
More changes are certain as the industry gets back on its feet, so be sure to check with your specific airline for current flight information. Do not be surprised to encounter some connecting services where you may be accustomed to previously non-stop flights.