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COVID 19: US airlines face complexity in cutting capacity

Premium Analysis

In the span of less than a month US airlines have had to change their strategies for the short and medium term drastically, as the COVID-19 crisis has reached pandemic levels and triggered historical degradation of demand. 

Those airlines were forced to adapt quickly to the new reality. They worked to fortify their balance sheets and cut capacity as travel restrictions were issued to the US from various regions of the world.

But as the US quickly became the epicentre for the spread of COVID-19, the airlines' planned capacity cuts have become starker as loads have fallen to unsustainable levels. 

There is now a disconnect between specific capacity guidance that airlines have offered as COVID-19 intensifies, and the capacity that remains in the domestic system. However, it does seem that airlines are slowly beginning to alter their schedules to match their stated capacity decreases.

It is a fluid situation, but there seems to be movement toward the stated targets for capacity decreases. 

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