Photo: United Airlines

MIAMI – United Airlines (UA) announces that it will cut domestic flights by 10% and international routes by 20% in April due to the COVID-19.

In the last memo from UA, released on Wednesday, Chief Executive, Oscar Munoz, and President, Scott Kirby informed that as a consequence of low passenger demand, several flights would be reduced, hirings and merit pay increases halted because of the current rapidly changing circumstances.

“A lot has changed this weekend…We certainly hope that these latest measures are enough, but the dynamic nature of this outbreak requires us to be nimble and flexible moving forward”, added Munoz and Kirby.

Fleet consequences as long-haul flights get canceled

The cut off will probably to the month of May because of the dramatic market decline that is affecting other US and worldwide carriers on long-haul routes.

UA declared that transpacific flying represents half of the 20% planned routes to be cut in April, so services to Europe and Latin America will be affected, too, this in connection to the grounding of Boeing 777 jets and 787 Dreamliners. Thus, the company is changing aircraft sizes on certain routes.

Announcements for the next months

In order to be financially prepared for the coming business trends and to continue its profitability, the Chicago-based company imposed a hiring stop until June 30 and deferred merit salary increases for management through July 1. It will also offers unpaid voluntary leaves for employees.

Alongside the carrier, American Airlines (AA) and Delta (DL) announced flight suspensions to China, Italy and South Korea in the past days with waived change fees. However, UA becomes the first US carrier that has also added cancelations in routes across the US.

More financial implications

In February, the Chicago-based airline waived its 2020 profit forecast due to the significant financial effect that the coronavirus outbreak would have on the company.

In addition to the new announcements, the company may delay the step down of UA’s CEO Munoz, expected to be by Springtime. Also, the company postponed an investor’s meeting on March 5 due to its uncertain situation.

United CEO Oscar Munoz

On an ending note, DL announced today that it will reduce its weekly flying schedule to Japan through 30 April 2020. Moreover, it will suspend summer seasonal service between Seattle and Osaka for 2020 in response to reduced demand due to coronavirus.