American Airlines plans to cut much of its service to London next month from major U.S. airports due to weak demand in the pandemic, the carrier said Sunday.
The move comes as coronavirus cases have climbed in both countries and officials instated new restrictions in response to help curb the spread of the virus, driving down demand on what was one of the most profitable and popular international routes pre-pandemic.
The carrier won't operate flights from Charlotte, New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Chicago O'Hare to London Heathrow next month, a total of 16 weekly flights to London. Customers in Chicago and New York can alternatively book on British Airways, American's trans-Atlantic partner. American will continue to operate cargo-only flights from Chicago and New York and London, "until daily passenger service resumes in January," a spokeswoman said in statement. No other American Airlines December Europe service was cancelled over the weekend.
"We're constantly evaluating our network to match supply and demand and have been making regular schedule adjustments since March," the spokeswoman said. "In an effort to match low demand resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19), we continue to operate a reduced schedule."
United next month will suspend flights to Munich from San Francisco and Newark as well as Chicago-Amsterdam flights, but isn't planning to adjust its London Heathrow service, a spokesman said. The carrier is also increasing Newark-to-Brussels service to five times a week, up from three weekly roundtrips, and its trans-Atlantic service declines compared with last year would be roughly the same in December as this month.
"We continue to remain flexible and nimble with our schedules and will keep monitoring and reviewing customer demand and making necessary adjustments to our schedules in response," he said.
Delta didn't immediately comment on its plans.
Airlines, including American and British Airways, have been urging officials on both sides of the Atlantic to replace travel restrictions, such as those that bar most Europeans from entering the U.S. and quarantine requirements for Americans entering the U.K., with Covid-19 testing.