United expects to lose $1.5 billion as half of March and April flights canceled

  • United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, shown in 2016, announced the airline will slash flights as travel restrictions related to COVID-19 tank bookings.

    United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz, shown in 2016, announced the airline will slash flights as travel restrictions related to COVID-19 tank bookings. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 3/16/2020 11:24 AM

United Airlines quashed 50% of its flights for April and May, as fallout from the growing number of coronavirus cases continues.

"We also now expect these deep cuts to extend into the summer travel period," United CEO Oscar Munoz and President J. Scott Kirby said in a joint statement Sunday.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The move comes as the U.S. sharply restricts travel to international destinations, most recently to countries in Europe and the United Kingdom in addition to bans on visiting China and Iran.

"Even with those cuts, we're expecting load factors to drop into the 20(%) to 30% range -- and that's if things don't get worse," Munoz said.

March is typically the airline's busiest month, but the first two weeks saw passengers drop by more than 1 million, Munoz said. Revenue is expected to slump by $1.5 billion.

American Airlines and Delta, along with smaller carriers, also have reduced schedules dramatically.

United executives will see salary cuts of 50% as a result of the crisis, Munoz noted.

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