DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – American Airlines has canceled 55,000 flights in April and grounded almost half of its fleet amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The airline saw unprecedented declines in bookings and customer demand since the outbreak hit the country.
“This is a crisis unlike any we’ve faced in the past. Together, we will continue to be aggressive on all fronts so that we ensure American’s future is intact,” AA President Robert Isom said in a letter to employees.
All long-haul international flying was pulled down with the exception of London Heathrow, which is operating 1x daily from DFW and MIA and Tokyo Narita, which is operating 3x per week from DFW.
AA has reduced international flying by 75% and its domestic schedule by 30% in April, with plans to reduce it even further in May.
In all, the airline will park 130 of its widebody aircraft and 320 narrowbody planes in April.
“While these steps are unparalleled in our history, we expect demand to fall even more before it gets better. More network reductions are being worked in real-time as we see bookings decline,” said Isom.
Working with its unions, AA has offered voluntary leaves to most team members. The airline is also offering an early out so team members with 15 years at the company who are ready to leave can keep their medical care at active employee rates.
It has enacted voluntary leave opportunities for some management and support staff team members and will be expanding those opportunities to more of our team soon, according to Isom.
New hire flight attendant classes that were in progress were discontinued and hiring and pay freezes were announced.
“We are in the fight of our lives, and we will win. Now is the time to come together and rally against a common enemy. The spread of COVID-19 stops with all of us following CDC guidelines, practicing social distancing and educating ourselves with facts. Likewise, our future starts with all of us providing essential air service to keep our country moving, taking care of each other and our customers, and building for a brighter day,” Isom concluded.