United Airlines boss warns domestic and transatlantic flights will be cut after coronavirus fears leave planes empty of passengers

Monday, March 2, 2020
By Paul Martin

In an email to employees on Sunday, Oscar Munoz said the airline had been hit by sagging demand for flights as passengers avoid travel amid coronavirus fears
United already cut flights to Asia, mainland China and Hong Kong
On Friday, it then sharply slashed flights to Japan and South Korea
Short-term demand for its trans-Pacific routes was also down by 75%
This marks the latest blow for the airline industry as industry analysts warned that the impact of coronavirus on the airline industry was ‘worse than 9/11’
Coronavirus fears have intensified as the US recorded its first two deaths

By RACHEL SHARP
DAILYMAIL.COM
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United Airlines boss Oscar Munoz has said that the US airline will likely need to cut more flights as fears over the rapid spread of coronavirus are leaving planes empty.

In an email sent to employees late on Sunday, Munoz said the airline had been hit by sagging demand for flights, as passengers avoid travel due to the coronavirus outbreak.

‘We are strategically managing our Atlantic and domestic service, mindful of travel directives from the federal government, fluctuating demand and of course, the advice of public health experts,’ the chief executive wrote.

‘Based on current trends, it is likely that additional schedule reductions will be necessary.’

On Friday, it then sharply slashed flights to Japan and South Korea.

Munoz did not specify which routes would next face the chop.

However, the Chicago-based company revealed last Monday that short-term demand for its trans-Pacific routes was down by 75% – excluding China where demand has almost disappeared.

Among US airlines, United has the biggest international exposure, drawing about 40 percent of its revenues from overseas flights.

On Friday, United canceled its investor day that was set for March 5, saying it is not ‘practical to expect that it can have a productive conversation focused on its long-term strategy next week.’

That same day, it ended the day down 5.2 percent on Friday and down more than 22 percent over the last week.

This marks the latest blow for the industry as industry analysts warned last week that the global coronavirus outbreak had left airlines some of the hardest hit.

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