American Airlines CEO: “Let’s fly, for God’s sake”

The pandemic is not yet affecting American Airlines, not if its CEO has anything to say about it anyway.

“We’re going to fly, for heaven’s sake,” CEO Doug Parker told the Wall Street Journal. [The Wall Street Journal shares common ownership with MarketWatch.]

“If it doesn’t work, we will remove it,” he added, since it is easier to cut flights than to add them.

Related:American Airlines and JetBlue Partner to Expand Options for Northeast Travelers

Although the global outbreak of COVID-19 has caused the demand for travel to plummet as travelers have moved away from places confined with strangers, the relaxation of the patterns of social distancing in many states across the country has made that air travel begins to return. The Transportation Security Administration examined an average of 661,811 people per day during the first five days of July, for example, which was an increase of more than 90% from the same window last month, and more than five times the number of the first five days. of April.

“We are going to fly, for the love of God. If it doesn’t work, we will withdraw it. ”

And American Airlines AAL,
It has recovered about half of the 410 jets it connected earlier this spring, the Journal reported, and offers more than double the number of seats this week than United UAL,
and almost 50% more than Delta DAL,

Still, travel demand is about a quarter of last year’s levels, and the number of coronavirus cases has taken off in most parts of the country. That has seen some cities and states, including the New York City tri-state area travel center, enacting new travel bans and restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, which could further affect demand.

American admitted to its employees earlier this week that travel demand has not returned as quickly as expected, and its passenger revenue fell 80% from the previous year. American warned that it expects to have more than 20,000 employees when federal aid runs out on October 1, which could lead to a layoff.

“I just hate this,” said Parker. “There is not enough demand to support the people we have.”

Parker’s strategy for executing more flights with more seats is based on the confidence that the trip will recover in time and that the airline will be ready for it.

However, lately American has come under scrutiny for flying at full capacity, while other American airlines such as Delta, JetBlue JBLU,
and HA Hawaiian,
They have blocked the middle seat to help people practice social distancing. “We don’t think it’s the right message,” Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said earlier this month in a Senate committee on airlines that sell intermediate seats. “It is really important that people, whether [they’re in] a bus, a train or an airplane are a social distancing as far as possible. “

Read more:Airlines must take extreme precautions to keep passengers safe, according to experts.

“They are [American] It’s going to look very prescient or very silly, “Wolfe Research analyst Hunter Keay told the Journal.” They’d better expect the traveling public to feel comfortable enough quickly or to have a vaccine. “

Read the full report in The Wall Street Journal.

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