Business Travel Briefing
For July 2-July 16, 2020
The briefing in brief: American and Air Canada slash dozens of routes and cities from the route map. El Al stops flying again and the future is financially ugly. Hawaiian Airlines restores long-haul domestic flights. Delta and United will restore liquor in some classes. Radisson Rewards offers big bonus for stays until December 31. And more, including the daily Coronavirus update.
AMERICAN, AIR CANADA DUMP DOZENS OF ROUTES AND CITIES
Whenever you get back on the road, you will find that your carrier of choice will be significantly smaller. I don't just mean fewer flights. Dozens of cities and routes--perhaps hundreds--will be excised from the route maps. And given the pace of recovery and the new wave of Coronavirus infections, those routes and cities will probably be gone forever. Or whatever counts as forever these days. American Airlines, for example, is restructuring its international route system and at least 19 more routes will be dropped. From Los Angeles, still a titular AA hub, the routes to Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Beijing are gone. American also wants to move its LAX-Shanghai run to Seattle. AA's first Africa route--from its Philadelphia hub to Casablanca--will not launch. Three Europe routes from Philadelphia will also get the axe. The Charlotte hub loses three routes, Miami loses its Milan nonstop and Chicago/O'Hare will lose its flights to Venice, Krakow and two other cities. Up north, Air Canada has taken a chainsaw to its small-city route network. Eight airports--in the Maritimes, in Ontario and in Quebec--are banished from the route map entirely. It also "indefinitely" suspends 30 runs, including a dozen between Quebec and Ontario, three routes from Regina in Western Canada and more than a dozen routes in the Maritimes and Newfoundland and Labrador.
EL AL GROUNDS ITSELF AGAIN AND THE FUTURE IS GRIM
El has always been more of an expression of Israel's will to survive than an airline. So it's no surprise that it has been more chaotic than usual during the pandemic. The carrier grounded all flights in April--Israel has a 14-day quarantine in place--and only recently resumed a small schedule. Which in itself was controversial since El Al had laid off so many employees. But it all came crashing down on Wednesday (July 1) when El Al stopped all flying again during a squabble with pilots. At the moment, El Al claims it is grounded until July 31, but insists it will fly a renewed skeleton schedule to Los Angeles and Miami beginning July 10. Flights to New York/JFK from Tel Aviv were supposed to resume today (July 2), but both the JFK- and TLV-originating segments were cancelled. Financially, the situation is grim. El Al lost US$140 million in the first quarter, more than twice last year's first-quarter losses. It also owes passengers about $350 million in refunds for flights cancelled during the pandemic. Stay tuned, folks, because the only thing more convoluted than Israeli politics is the fate of its national carrier.
HAWAIIAN RESTORES LONG-HAUL MAINLAND FLIGHTS
This is a surprise: Hawaiian Airlines
announced this week that many more of its mainland flights will resume August 1, the same day Hawaii welcomes visitors without quarantine--if they can prove they have been tested. The airline says flights from Honolulu to New York/JFK, Boston, Las Vegas and Phoenix will return. Hawaiian will also restore service to San Jose and Oakland. Across the Pacific, the airline will resume flying from Honolulu to American Samoa on August 6.
, the mostly independent regional carrier, has abandoned plans to launch flights to Charleston, South Carolina. It had hoped to begin ATR-72 routes from Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa.
AEROMEXICO GOES BUST, LIAT GOES DOWN
becomes the third major Latin American carrier to hit the shoals of bankruptcy. Mexico's largest carrier declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week in a United States court. The carrier is still flying--you know, as much as any airline is flying--and searching for DIP financing. It also reaffirmed its partnership with Delta Air Lines. Meanwhile, LIAT
, the flag carrier of Antigua and Barbuda, is throwing in the towel. Founded in 1956, the airline has run out of road--"road" being cash from the islands' government. And it is the government that announced the carrier's liquidation. The nation's prime minister insists a new airline will be created.
DRINK UP! DELTA AND UNITED ARE BACK IN THE GAME
Delta Air Lines
was due to resume limited alcoholic beverage service today (July 2). Travelers in first class and premium economy will be offered single-serve bottles of red or white wine and a selection of beers. Cocktails and hard liquor remain unavailable. Over at United Airlines
, the carrier has restored free beer and single-serve bottled wine in coach on international flights. Single-serve bottles of liquor will be served to premium class flyers.
, the flag carrier of Denmark, Sweden and Norway, has received a US$1.5 billion bailout. The governments of Denmark and Sweden are underwriting some of the funding.
BUSINESS TRAVEL NEWS YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Boeing 737 MAX
this week completed a series of test flights under FAA auspices. The aircraft has been grounded since March, 2019. Bet you haven't thought about the MAX lately. Meanwhile, Bloomberg News is reporting that Boeing has decided to end production of the last of the Boeing 747s, the world's first and still the most famous widebody aircraft.
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