Airline bookings drop ahead of Thanksgiving as coronavirus infections spike

Right during the global coronovirus epidemic Ana Ramos, CA in Lux is being tested for covid19 at Bradley International on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA.

Francine Ore | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Airline officials warned on Thursday that bookings are beginning to form as a hit record for new coronovirus cases and government health officials advise against traveling on Thanksgiving.

“Certainly with the increase in transition rates we have actually seen a decrease in demand across the country,” American Airlines President Robert Isom said during the Skift Aviation Forum on Thursday. “Too soon to tell how deep and how long it is, there can be a gloomy environment but we have seen some weakening of the booking.”

Isom’s comments following the advice of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggest the public avoid traveling on Thanksgiving, usually a busy weekend for airlines when travelers are prepared to pay higher prices to visit relatives .

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, more than 170,100 new cases of the virus were reported in the US on Wednesday, reporting a second-day one-day spike.

The event manager of CDC’s Kovid-19, Drs. Henry Walkay said Thursday that the agency is worried that the virus may have spread to the country’s “transportation hub”, as people may not be able to sustain physical disturbances. However, he acknowledged that the CDC’s “strong recommendation” is not required and some may ignore the agency’s advice.

The spike in cases and the latest warnings are an additional challenge for US carriers who have already lost more than $ 20 billion this year as many potential passengers avoid flying. According to federal data, passenger traffic is hovering at around a third of last year.

Earlier on Thursday, United Airlines said bookings slowed and were canceled in the week ended Wednesday, echoing last week’s comments about soft demand from Southwest Airlines.

Airlines have recently researched the aircraft’s cleaning and their filtration systems, as well as recent research that said the virus is unlikely to catch onboard.

But the virus has put the industry in dire straits of selling seats as it fights to survive as health officials advise against travel and ceremonies to prevent the disease from spreading.

“We’re providing people with their travel and the safety of science and data, so they can decide if they want to travel,” Nicholas Calio, CEO of Airlines for America, a business group that owns the most prominent US carriers Represents, said on a call Thursday with reporters. “We are not encouraging people to travel. Do we want to see them travel? Yes, we do, but only if it is safe for them and there are a variety of factors involved for each individual traveler. . “

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