United Airlines Plans Deep Capacity Cuts as Virus Crisis 'Moving Quickly'

United Airlines plans to cut capacity by about 50% in April and May.
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United Airlines  (UAL) - Get Report said it planned to cut capacity by about 50% in April and May after projecting that revenue in March would be $1.5 billion lower than a year earlier.

The airline said it has flown 1 million fewer passengers during the first two weeks of March.

"The bad news is that it's getting worse," CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby said in a message to the airline's employees. "We expect both the number of customers and revenue to decline sharply in the days and weeks ahead." 

“This crisis is moving really quickly,” the executives added.

The announcement Sunday from United follows word from Delta Air Lines  (DAL) - Get Report on Friday that it planned to cut 40% of capacity.

Delta said it has been in contact with the White House and Congress about financial assistance to get through the downturn in air travel as the coronavirus spreads.

“We are in discussions with the White House and Congress regarding the support they can provide to help us through this period. I’m optimistic we will receive their support,” CEO Ed Bastian said in a memo to the Atlanta airlines 90,000 employees.

The company also said it would be canceling flights to Europe.

American Airlines  (AAL) - Get Report said Saturday it would slash international flights by 75% through May 6. The announcement followed the White House's widening of restrictions on European travelers that now includes the United Kingdom and Ireland.

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