American Joins Other Airlines in Reducing Flights to NYC

American Airlines has joined at least three other carriers in dramatically reducing its schedule to New York City airports, as the Empire State – now the epicenter of the coronavirus global pandemic – prepares for a likely increase in cases and deaths this week or next.

Starting April 7, American will trim flights out of LaGuardia Airport (LGA), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), reducing service by at least 90 percent at each airport.

“As coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in New York City and the surrounding region continue to increase, along with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines for travel to the area, the demand for flights to the New York area is rapidly evaporating,” wrote David Seymour, the senior vice president of American Airlines, in a letter to team members on Sunday.

The airline plans to run its new, temporary schedule through May 6.

With government and health officials saying the apex of the coronavirus is expected sometime this week in New York, American has joined United, JetBlue and Spirit in reducing flights.

The U.S. has more than 308,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nearly 8,400 deaths as of Saturday, April 4. New York City has more than 20 percent of those confirmed cases, 63,300, and just over 1,900 deaths.

American also said it will operate flights only between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, as “turn-only operations with no aircraft or crew remaining overnight.”

Last week, Spirit Airlines suspended service to LGA and EWR, as well as Niagara Falls International Airport, Plattsburg International Airport in upstate New York and Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Conn. JetBlue, which is headquartered in New York City, announced its own cuts to service in a memo to employees.

And on Sunday, United pulled the trigger on reducing flights.

“As the situation in New York and New Jersey worsens, we are taking another major step at Newark and LaGuardia to help keep our employees safe and play our part in helping to mitigate the spread of the outbreak in the Tri-State area,” Greg Hart, United’s executive vice president and chief operations officer, said in the letter to employees.

At Newark, a United hub, the airline is slashing 90 percent of its normal daily flights, going from 139 flights per day that fly to 62 different destinations to 15 daily flights to nine cities. At LaGuardia, United is dropping all but two of its 18 flights per day to four destinations down to two daily flights to just one destination.

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Emirates airline resumes flights with passenger warning

Passengers must adhere to safety procedures for repatriation flights from Dubai to four destinations

All Emirates aircraft will go through enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes in Dubai after each journey.

Emirates airline resumes passenger operations today, with repatriation flights from Dubai to four destinations.

The first destinations include London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Brussels, and Zurich, with four flights per week for London and three for the other cities.

In a travel update today, however, Emirates has warned that all passengers must adhere to safety procedures in order to board the flights, which depart from Terminal 2 and not the regular Terminal 3 for Emirates flights. Passengers are asked to check-in and arrive three hours ahead of departure at Terminal 2 to avoid any delays.

In addition, and in keeping with UAE guidelines, passengers are reminded to bring their own face masks, hand gloves and abide by social distancing rules.

All passengers looking to board flights will undergo thermal screening procedures at the airport.

“Passengers are reminded that cabin baggage will not be accepted on these flights, items allowed will be limited to laptop, handbag, briefcase or baby items; any other items will have to be checked in,” the airline said in its travel update.

On board the flight, Emirates said it will be a “modified inflight service programme on these flights”.

“Magazines and other print reading material will not be available, and while food and beverages will continue to be offered on board, packaging and presentation will be modified to reduce contact during meal service and the risk of infection,” the airline said.

“Emirates’ Lounge and Chauffeur Drive services will be temporarily unavailable during this period,” it added.

All Emirates aircraft will go through enhanced cleaning and disinfection processes in Dubai after each journey.

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TSA Lends Helping Hand to Airport Employees Impacted by Coronavirus

Transportation Security Administration officers in Wisconsin are stepping up to help airport workers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Agents at Green Bay–Austin Straubel International Airport have launched a new program dubbed “TSA Gives Back” that provides free lunches for airport workers who have seen their paychecks reduced.

While the TSA Gives Back program is voluntary, the vast majority of officers contributed money to cover the cost of providing meals for around 90 airport employees who have seen their pay shrink as a result of the reduced number of travelers.

Airline employees from American, Delta and United, as well as workers at rental car locations inside the facility, were provided lunches by the TSA, including pizza, salads, garlic bread, chocolate cake, soda and cookies.

[email protected] officers at @GRBairport chipped in to pay for free lunches for other airport workers in the terminal who have seen their hours and pay reduced due to COVID-19. The details: https://t.co/EfAdxO1P1Q pic.twitter.com/tmeb7mkB96

TSA agents working at Green Bay–Austin Straubel International wanted to give back to other employees at the airport after they had previously supported the TSA when officers worked without paychecks during the government furlough in 2019.

TSA Manager Tim Marien said airline and car rental employees were “surprised and grateful for the support.” The agency also acknowledged it followed proper social distancing while delivering the meals.

The employees are seeing their hours and salaries cut as the TSA announced the number of people traveling by plane hit a 10-year low.

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Emirates airline to resume limited repatriation flights to select European cities

Emirates to resume limited passenger flights to European cities

Cleaning and disinfection of the planes will take place after each flight and they will not carry passengers on return journeys to Dubai, the statement added.

Emirates airline said Thursday it is to resume a limited number of outbound passenger flights from April 6, less than two weeks after its coronavirus-enforced stoppage.

“Emirates has received approval from UAE authorities to restart flying a limited number of passenger flights,” its chairman, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum, said on Twitter.

“From April 6, these flights will initially carry travellers outbound from UAE,” he said.

A statement issued by the company later Thursday specified that flights would “resume from Dubai to London (Heathrow), Frankfurt, Paris, Brussels and Zurich, with four flights per week for London and three for the other cities”.

Cleaning and disinfection of the planes will take place after each flight and they will not carry passengers on return journeys to Dubai, the statement added.

Dubai-owned carrier Emirates, the largest in the Middle East with 271 wide-body aircraft, grounded passenger operations last week as the UAE halted all passenger flights to fight the spread of coronavirus.

The UAE, which groups seven emirates including Dubai, has declared 814 coronavirus cases along with eight deaths.

It has imposed a sweeping crackdown, including the flight ban and closure of borders.

Sheikh Ahmed said Emirates, which owns the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos with 113 in its ranks, was looking to gradually resume passenger services.

“Over the time, Emirates looks forward to the gradual resumption of passenger services in line with lifting of travel and operational restrictions, including assurance of health measures to safeguard our people and customers,” he said.

When Emirates suspended flights, it cut between 25 percent and 50 percent of the basic salary of its 100,000-strong staff for three months, saying it wanted to avert layoffs.

Dubai’s crown prince, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said Tuesday that Dubai will support the airline by injecting new capital.

Tourism, aviation, hotels and entertainment are key contributors to Dubai’s mostly non-oil economy.

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Southwest Airlines Cuts Flight Schedule By Over 40 Percent

Southwest Airlines has announced a new flight schedule for travel May 3 through June 5 in wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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The changes will reduce flight activity by more than 40 percent, limiting the low-cost carrier to approximately 2,000 flights per day. Southwest cited “significantly lower passenger demand, operational disruptions and the ongoing suspension of our international service” for the reduced capacity.

“During this time, we are maintaining passenger service to every city we serve, moving cargo around the country, and facilitating our customers’ essential travel between nearly every city-pair we previously offered,” the airline added. “Some journeys that had been nonstop might now require a same-plane stop or a connection. This scheduling change merely takes forward in time work that is removing roughly 1,500 flights a day from our current operation.”

Southwest added that affected customers would be notified of any changes and receive updates as well as be offered additional flexibility within the carrier’s existing policies amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The overall demand for travel remains fluid during this ongoing pandemic and we continue to evaluate further reductions,” Southwest said.

With travel demand down, the airline continues to offer discounted fares as low as $39 one-way.

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Schools to refund transporation fees in Dubai, Sharjah

The moves comes amid a shift towards online learning as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic

Dubai’s KHDA announced that bus fees for Indian and Pakistani school’s first terms – which begins on April 5 – must be refunded.

Education authorities in Dubai and Sharjah have announced that parents should be refunded for third term transportation and bus fees, amid the shift towards online learning that has taken place as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In Dubai, an announcement from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority announced that bus fees for Indian and Pakistani school’s first terms – which begins on April 5 – must be refunded.

In Sharjah, the emirate’s Private Education Authority issued notices to private and Indian/Pakistani curriculum schools noting that schools must refund transportation and nutrition fees.

Parents are required to pay the remaining fees.

In Dubai, a number of schools around Dubai have announced reduction in tuition fees for term 3 as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic keeps students at home, although they called on parents to help support staff members.

Horizon English School, Horizon International School have both announced 20 percent reduction in fees, while Safe Community School and the Next Generation School are now offering 20 percent discounts on third time fees. Dubai English Speaking School has agreed to reduce fees by 20 percent for primary and secondary education.

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American Airlines applying for 12 billion in cash and loans

American Airlines will apply for approximately $12 billion
in airline rescue grants and loans, CEO Doug Parker and president Robert Isom
said in a letter to employees.

“We intend to apply for these funds and are confident that,
along with our relatively high available cash position, they will allow us to
fly through even the worst of potential future scenarios,” the executives said.

Under the Cares Act, U.S. passenger airlines are
to receive up to $25 billion in federal grants and are eligible — along with
large travel agencies and aircraft maintenance businesses — for up to $25
billion in federal loans.

Grants must be used to maintain salaries and staffing levels
through Sept. 30. Airlines that accept them must also continue service to
markets they flew to as of March 1.

On Tuesday, the Department of Transportation clarified how
it will manage that latter requirement. The rule will pertain only to U.S.
destinations. In cases in which airlines serve multiple airports in the same
market, they will be allowed to consolidate to a single airport. Carriers can
also reduce the number of routes offered from any airport as long as at least
one route is operated.

For destinations that a carrier served at least five days a
week as of the last week of February, the carrier will be required to continue
a minimum service level of five days per week. If carriers had been flying
routes less than five days per week, they will be allowed to drop to
once-weekly service. 

The DOT will also allow the airlines that take federal
assistance to request permission to halt service in certain markets. Airlines
will have to explain why cessation is necessary.

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United says jobs losses likely after Cares Act protection ends

United Airlines expects it will eventually reduce its
workforce after a federal prohibition on cutbacks ends in September.

Under the federal Cares Act rescue bill, airlines that
accept a portion of the $25 billion in grants that are available must maintain
staffing and pay levels through Sept. 30.

However, United CEO Oscar Munoz and president Scott Kirby in
a letter to employees said they expect demand to remain suppressed for months,
possibly into next year.

“If the recovery is as slow as we fear, it means our airline
and our workforce will have to be smaller than it is today,” the executives
said.

They added that they would plan for the worst but hope for a
faster recovery.

United has thus far cut its flying by more than 60%, but
still expects its load factor to be as low as single digits in April. The
carrier plans deeper capacity cuts in May and June.

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easyJet Grounds Entire Fleet Due to Coronavirus Outbreak

Between the heavy travel restrictions and self-quarantines that have been put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, easyJet has decided to ground its entire fleet until further notice.

“As a result of the unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of national lockdowns across many European countries, EasyJet has, today, fully grounded its entire fleet of aircraft,” a spokesperson for the airline said a statement with Fox News.

For the next two months, crew members and easyJet employees will be paid 80 percent of their average wages, effective April 1.

“I am extremely proud of the way in which people across EasyJet have given their absolute best at such a challenging time, including so many crew who have volunteered to operate rescue flights to bring our customers home,” Johan Lundgren, CEO of easyJet, said in the Monday statement. “We are working tirelessly to ensure that EasyJet continues to be well positioned to overcome the challenges of coronavirus.”

In the meantime, easyJet has asked loyal customers and those affected by the temporary grounding to remain patient.

“For customers on canceled flights, please remember that you do not have to contact us prior to your original flight date. Please be assured that your entitlements in case of canceled flights are available for up to a year after your flight was originally due to depart,” the carrier wrote via Twitter.

With little demand for commercial flights during the pandemic, the airline has instead been using its resources to launch over 650 rescue flights to return over 45,000 people to their home countries. easyJet’s last rescue flight flew out on March 29, though the airline will continue to work with government agencies to operate further potential rescue flights in the future.

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Coronavirus: Abu Dhabi to suspend parking charges for 3 weeks

Abu Dhabi decision comes into effect from tomorrow (Monday) and is subject to “revision and extension”

Mawaqif parking charges have been suspended for three weeks.

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Municipalities and Transport has announced a three-week suspension of Mawaqif parking charges in the emirate.

The decision comes into effect from tomorrow (Monday) and is subject to “revision and extension” the authority said in a tweet today.

[email protected] announces the suspension of Mawaqif parking fees for a period of three weeks starting from tomorrow Monday and subject to revision and extension pic.twitter.com/CCuNIGrRjD— مكتب أبوظبي الإعلامي (@admediaoffice) March 29, 2020

“The Department of Municipalities and Transport announces its suspension of Mawaqif parking fees for a period of three weeks starting from tomorrow, Monday, and subject to revision and extension,” the DMT said.

Earlier this month, as part of its stimulus package for the emirate, Abu Dhabi Executive Council announced the exemption of vehicles from road tolls until the end of 2020. The tolls were designed a traffic-calming measure, and were only operational during peak hours on four bridges connecting Abu Dhabi island with the mainland.

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