United Airlines To Reduce U.S., International Flights Due To Coronavirus

United Airlines Holdings Inc. said its plans to reduce domestic as well as international flights amid weak demand as the coronavirus epidemic is spreading across the world.

United’s Chief Executive Oscar Munoz, and Scott Kirby, the CEO designate who will take over in May, reportedly said in a letter to the employees that domestic service would be reduced by about 10 percent and international service by about 20 percent in the month of April. Latin American service will be reduced by 5 percent. There may be similar cuts in the month of May as well, the company said.

The airline also announced a hiring freeze through June 30 except for critical positions, and said it will ask workers in the United States to take voluntary unpaid leave, starting immediately. However, the company does not plan layoffs.

United Airlines said it will temporarily ground an unspecified number of planes.

The company’s announcement came after many airline chief executives met with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the White House to talk about the COVID-19 scenario. The Government is seeking the airlines’ help to find out travelers who would have been in contact with COVID-19 -infected people.

After the meeting, Trump said that the virus is affecting the airline business.

Germany’s Lufthansa also announced its plans to ground 150 planes due to weak demand from the virus outbreak.

Today, UK airline Flybe said it stopped its operations and went into administration. The already-struggling airline grounded all its flights particularly impacted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

United and many airlines across the world have already suspended flights to mainland China, where the outbreak emerged.

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