American Airlines adds flights as demand recovers from virus

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American Airlines adds flights as demand recovers from virus

Thursday, June 04, 2020

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NEW YORK, United States (AFP) — American Airlines will add more flights in July on improving demand, the company said Thursday, suggesting the industry had seen the worst of the hit from the coronavirus shutdowns.

The announcement boosted airline shares including American, which surged 26.4 per cent to US$14.97 in morning trading.

Citing increased interest from consumers in US states that have reopened more quickly from coronavirus shutdowns, the major carrier will fly 55 per cent of its domestic schedule in July and nearly 20 per cent of its international schedule.

"We're seeing a slow but steady rise in domestic demand. After a careful review of data, we've built a July schedule to match," said Vasu Raja, American's senior vice president of network strategy.

"Our July schedule includes the smallest year-over-year capacity reduction since March."

Major airlines have been slashing service and encouraging flying staff to take unpaid leave to try to conserve cash after demand dropped by as much as 95 per cent as the pandemic hit.

But American, which has a higher debt level than other leading US carriers, said it had an average of 110,330 customers in late May, more than three times the level from April.

Its planes were 55 per cent filled by late May, up from 15 per cent in April.

American said it would boost service to parts of the US where demand was strongest, including Florida, North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina. The carrier has also added more flights to Colorado, Utah and other western states with national parks.

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