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Delta Air Lines schedule flux illustrates pandemic challenges

Premium Analysis

The continuing rise of COVID-19 cases in the US has essentially stalled demand for air travel, which was slowly moving off bottom levels reached in Apr-2020 before cases began spiking in western and southern states in Jun-2020. 

In US COVID-19 hotspots the number of infections continues to trend in the wrong direction, and the knock-on effect in demand has forced most of the nation’s airlines to rein in their short term capacity plans.

To illustrate the extreme fluidity triggered by the COVID-19 crisis, Delta Air Lines is postponing the resumption of 170 routes originally scheduled for Aug-2020. The majority are now scheduled to restart in Oct-2020, but with so little visibility into demand patterns, the launch of those services could be pushed out further.

However, Delta believes there could be some recovery in demand later in 2020; but overall the company is sticking to its conclusion that the rebound from COVID-19 remains choppy. 

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