American Airlines Drastically Slashes Domestic and International Flights

American Airlines will cut between 70% and 75% of flights in April and about 80% of flights in May.
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American Airlines  (AAL) - Get Report said it would cut between 70% and 75% of flights in April and about 80% of flights in May as the coronavirus pandemic drastically reduces travel demand. 

The airline, the largest in the U.S., said it would cut almost 90% of international flights for April and May.

Vasu Raja, American Airlines’ senior vice president of network strategy, told Reuters that domestic demand is expected to remain weak into May as bookings have declined.

The airline, however, said it has no plans to stop flying entirely in the U.S., noting there are medical workers and others who must travel, sometimes for urgent medical reasons. 

American Airlines also said it would cancel more than 60% of its total international flights this summer.

“This is going to be a challenging situation for a long time to come,” Raja said in an interview with Bloomberg. “We’re not seeing any bookings come in. It’s not just in May or June that we’ll have an issue, but we’ve missed so many bookings in July and August that it makes more sense to reduce that capacity now and try to save on as many expenses as we can.”

American Airlines has asked the U.S. government for help after the industry collapsed due to travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The airline said it plans to apply for as much as $12 billion in assistance from the $61 billion package Congress approved for the airlines last week.

Southwest Airlines  (LUV) - Get Report said Thursday it also was seeking up to $12 billion in aid.

Meanwhile, the director general of the International Air Transport Association, Alexandre de Juniac, called the coronavirus crisis "aviation's darkest hour." 

The IATA said air traffic demand in February fell 14%, the steepest decline since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The numbers are expected to be worse for March since it was only then that countries began putting in place travel restrictions on their citizens.