Changes in the airline industry due to COVID-19.

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March 6, 2020

COVID-19 and its Impact on the Airline Industry

Changes in the airline industry due to COVID-19 are happening daily if not hourly. These changes are reducing travel demand and forcing airlines to reduce schedules.

Governments around the world have put travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19.  Focusing specifically on the United States & Canada we know the following:

  • China
    • U.S. citizens returning from Hubei province in the prior 14 days from their arrival into the USA will be subject to up to 14 days of quarantine
    • U.S. citizens returning from anywhere else in mainland China in the prior 14 days from their arrival into the USA will undergo proactive health screening at select USA airports with up to 14 days of monitored self-quarantine
    • Suspension of entry of any non-U.S. citizen who has been in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) in the previous 14 days
    • Canadian citizens are being asked to self-monitor and quarantine themselves in their residences for 14 days after travel to a known affected area
    • Suspension of entry of any non-U.S. citizen who has been in Iran in the previous 14 days

Additionally, there are Travel Health Notices in place for the following countries with the recommendation that travelers avoid any non-essential travel due to COVID-19

  • South Korea – Daegu
  • Italy – Lombardy and Veneto

Before boarding a flight to the U.S., all customers will be asked if they have visited certain countries such as Iran or mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) within the past 14 days, in accordance with applicable regulations. If the answer is yes, you must enter the U.S. through one of 11 approved airports for a health screening and possible restrictions. The 11 screening airports are:

  • Atlanta (ATL)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Detroit (DTW)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • Honolulu (HNL)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Chicago O’Hare (ORD)
  • Seattle (SEA)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Washington-Dulles (IAD)

Temporary reduction or cancellation of flights to/from China, Hong Kong, South Korea, & Milan, Italy
Travel demand from countries where the outbreak first occurred or where the U.S. government has issued travel restrictions has fallen dramatically.  Airlines are adjusting their capacity to cope with this reduction in demand.

  • United Airlines has been more aggressive in its Asia flight cancellations and reductions and has also trimmed Japan and Singapore
  • Delta Air Lines has reduced capacity to Japan and has suspended summer Seattle-Osaka service
  • Air Canada has temporarily suspended its Toronto-Hong Kong and Toronto/Montreal/ Vancouver-Peking/Shanghai flights

There are no travel restrictions in the U.S. at this time.

Waiving of change fees for future travel
American, Delta and United are waiving change fees.  Alaska is waving change and cancellation fees.  Southwest does not have change fees.

Reduction of flight schedules
United will cut 10% domestically and 20% internationally starting in April. Other airlines are discussing it but have not announced any cuts yet. So far, no reductions are planned for Wichita.

Airlines are also implementing hiring freezes, postponing bonuses, canceling investor day and employee conferences and other measures to control costs as they see their revenue substantially impacted

Airport Cleaning
ICT enhances its cleaning processes with electrostatic spraying – the spray has electrically charged particles.  It places a positive charge on a disinfectant solution which is then sprayed on negatively charged surfaces.  It is effective against many microorganisms we deal with on a daily basis.  When you spray, the mist naturally wants to cling to the entire surface you are spraying it on and wraps itself around the surface to disinfect all of it.  This is not a replacement for our standard daily cleaning methods, but is another step that we can take to kill a variety of sickness-causing germs and viruses. After our thorough conventional cleaning we follow up with the electrostatic sprayers.

Aircraft Cleaning
Airlines are following CDC guidelines to clean and disinfect aircraft, giving additional time to clean international flights and flights that remain overnight. Catering equipment on key international flights is undergoing additional sanitation and disinfecting procedures.

Additional Resources
COVID-19 Travel Restrictions
CDC COVID-19 Information for Travel
CDC Travel Notices

Media Contacts   (316) 946-4700

Valerie Wise, Air Service & Marketing Manager

Jesse R. Romo, Director of Airports

Brad Christopher, Assistant Director of Airports

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