It will take weeks, if not months, for American, United and Southwest to get the plane back into service — and reassure travelers about its safety.
With few people traveling and lawmakers deadlocked on a stimulus package, American Airlines and United Airlines are cutting more than 30,000 jobs.
Pilots, flight attendants and other staff are retiring early or taking buyouts and leaves of absence in anticipation of a slow recovery.
Sarah Firshein tries to resolve how a nonstop with seat selection became a packed “split flight,” with concerns over proper cleaning and an arrival two hours later than expected.
American Airlines said it would furlough 19,000 workers if lawmakers do not extend aid to the industry, which has been hammered by the pandemic.
Airlines are fine-tuning their cleaning procedures — where they clean, how frequently and with which tools. This is what the new processes look like.
Before the pandemic, airlines worried about not being able to replace retiring baby boomers. Eager recruits expect to bear the brunt of layoffs.
International travel, a big profit generator for airlines, has been slow to recover and will probably take a big blow from the loss of trans-Atlantic traffic.
Brandon Straka was removed from a flight from La Guardia Airport to Dallas-Fort Worth Airport after he told an airline employee that he didn’t like wearing a mask.
Companies are promoting new rules to reassure Americans that flying is safe. But when it comes to enforcement, they are not following through.
New security and health policies at airports and on planes will make traveling this summer a bit stranger and, officials hope, safer.
Global satellite operator Intelsat has voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, the company announced late on Wednesday. Intelsat has attempted to position this as a positive moment that sees it embark on a “financial restructuring” project to enable its future growth, but a bankruptcy filing is seldom cause for celebration.
The company cites a need to participate in the FCC’s C-band spectrum clearing for 5G network built out in the U.S. as one of the factors behind its decisions to file, as well as “managing the economic slowdown impacting server of its markets caused by the COVID-19 global health crisis.”
Intelsat notes that its current plan involves no changes to the day-to-day operation of the company, or any reduction in headcount. The company also said that it has secured $1 billion in committed new financing, which will come in the form of debtor-in-position funds, subject to court approval. That just describes any company that plans to continue to operate its business while also undergoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
The company also says it’ll be continuing to launch new satellites, building out its ground network, and adding new services as it continues the process, and that its goal is to to get through the restructuring process “as quickly as possible.” The satellite operator cites GM and American Airlines as models that show is goal with the filing, having also undertaken a similar restructuring in the past and emerged with greater fiscal viability.
Intelsat’s bankruptcy filing isn’t the first noteworthy space co. filing resulting from the global pandemic: Would-be global satellite internet provider OneWeb filed for Chapter 11 protection in March.
Most flights are empty but some are still operating near capacity, frustrating travelers who say that airlines are not doing enough to keep them safe.
An industry that is intimately familiar with failure confronts a crisis unlike any other. Executives say they have no idea when passengers will return.
They poured the money into stock buybacks and dividends. Now, those hurting from the pandemic want government aid.
Inexpensive deals abound, and coupled with newly relaxed change and cancellation policies, some travelers are seeing little to no risk in pointing, clicking and purchasing.
Airlines will receive billions of dollars in grants and loans to pay flight attendants, pilots and other employees.
All major indices rose Wednesday, led by the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which increased 3.44% to close above 23,000 for the first time since March 13.
Investors seemed heartened by comments made by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci, who said Wednesday that the U.S. death count from COVID-19 is lower than initially modeled thanks. He warned that the death count will continue to climb even as new cases slow.
The action Wednesday followed rallies earlier this week. Still, it should be noted that the Dow Jones Industrial Average still closed below yesterday’s high of 23,537.44, suggesting that this could be a bear market run.
Here’s the breakdown at closing:
- Dow Jones rose 3.44%, or 779.71 points, to close at 23,433.57
- S&P 500 increased 3.41%, or 90.57, to close at 2,749.98
- NASDAQ popped 2.58%, or 203.64 points, to close at 8,090.90
Equities were also buoyed by oil prices and news that Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, whose policies fueled concerns about higher taxes, was dropping out of the race.
The transportation saw a bump today. Uber rose 4.66% to close at $26.94. That’s still more than 34.7% below this year’s high of $41.27 reached in February. Meanwhile, Lyft also saw shares rise 7.78% to close at $29.64. Again, it’s the same story as Uber. Lyft’s share price is still off — about 45% — from the year-to-date highs.
Among today’s leaders were airlines, which have been one of the harder hit industries in this COVID-19 era. United led the pack with a 12.38% bump to close at $27.51, followed by American Airlines and Delta, which rose 109.% and 4.4% respectively. Tesla had a volatile day that ended nearly where it began, with a 0.62% increase to close at $548.84.
Automakers also saw shares rise. GM shares rose 8.59% to close at $23.13, while Ford increased 6.59% to $5.03 and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles closed up 3.15% to $7.86 a share.
Nearly every part of the airline, the largest in the United States, has been transformed, and executives are fighting to keep it afloat.
American Airlines today announced that it will fly a handful of cargo-only flights to Europe, using its standard 777-300 passenger planes, over the course of the next few days. The company says these flights will carry medical supplies, mail for active U.S. military, telecommunications equipment and electronics, as well as packages from e-commerce firms.
This marks the first time American is operating cargo-only flights since 1984, when it retired its last 747 freighter (one of those retired planes, by the way, was then modified to carry NASA’s shuttle on its back).
By default, virtually all airlines carry cargo on their domestic and international flights. American, for example, notes that it shipped more than 400 tons of flowers from Amsterdam to the U.S. in the two weeks around Valentine’s Day. As airlines started shrinking their operations in light of various travel restrictions and plummeting customer demand during the current COVID-19 outbreak, that cargo capacity shrunk, too, even though there is still plenty of demand for moving cargo between countries. As of now, American and the other major U.S. airlines have suspended the majority of their international long-haul flights.
“We have a critical role to play in keeping essential goods moving during this unprecedented time, and we are proud to do our part and find ways to continue to serve our customers and our communities,” said Rick Elieson, president of Cargo and vice president of International Operations at American. “Challenging times call for creative solutions, and a team of people across the airline has been working nonstop to arrange cargo-only flight options for our customers.”
For now, American only plans to make two round-trips between Dallas and Frankfurt over the course of the next four days. “The flights provide much-needed cargo capacity for many of the airline’s regular cargo customers, allowing them to continue operating in this challenging environment,” the company says in its announcement.
Delta, too, recently announced that it would use some of its grounded passenger planes to move cargo. As airlines continue to grapple with the fallout of this pandemic, we’ll likely see more of them do this in the coming weeks.