MIAMI – American Airlines (AA) is cutting up to 100,000 flights from its December schedule in response to low demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The reduction comes during what is normally one of the busiest times of the year: the holiday season. Now, only 50% or so of AA’s regularly scheduled December flights will operate this winter.

“In December, our schedule will be approximately 50% smaller than the same time period last year, with the exception of the last two weeks of the month, which will be approximately 45% smaller than the same time period last year during the holiday peak,” says AA Spokeswoman Nichelle Tait. “We’re constantly evaluating our network to match supply and demand and have been making regular schedule adjustments since March.”

American is currently showing 105,619 flights on its December schedule. The airline also made drastic cuts to its November schedule, but the December flights are ahead by nearly 10,000.

“We do anticipate that the Thanksgiving period and the December second half period will be relatively stronger … because we have seen the last several holidays — Columbus Day, Labor Day, July Fourth and Memorial Day — become sequentially stronger,” Chief Revenue Officer Vasu Raja explains.

American Airlines Airbus A321-231 N151AN. Photo © Luca Flores

Destinations Affected

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), AA’s two biggest hubs, are seeing the fewest cuts. On the contrary, AA has reduced almost all of its flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA). It will operate just 15 flights per day at JFK and 22 per day at LGA.

Strict travel and quarantine restrictions in New York have played a part in AA’s drastic drop in flights to the area. The same goes for AA’s Illinois hub at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD). Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) are also among other major airports to receive the airline’s steep cuts.

Featured image: American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER. Photo: James Rowson via Wii Commons