Airlines will have to meet these schedule requirements to get coronavirus aid
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
When Congress passed a $50 billion aid package for airlines last week, the legislation suggested that carriers would be required to maintain a minimum level of service as a condition of receiving that aid.
On Tuesday, the Department of Transportation announced more details about exactly what would be expected of airlines.
The guidelines, which are based on each airline’s service pattern before March 1, fall under three broad categories:
- Cities served five times per week or more would need to maintain at least one daily flight per day, a minimum of five days per week.
- Cities served with less than five flights per week would need to maintain at least one weekly flight.
- Cities with flights to multiple other points could see service reduced to a single destination, so long as that schedule complied with the two guidelines above.
Practically speaking, here’s what that could look like:
- American Airlines flew roughly hourly every day between New York (LGA) and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), and it also offered many DFW flights from JFK and Newark (EWR), as well. That schedule could be reduced to a single NYC-DFW round-trip on at least five days each week. Under the guidelines, that would fulfill American’s service requirements for both cities.
- If United Airlines flew three times per week between Denver (DEN) and Flagstaff (FLG), and that represented the airline’s only service to Flagstaff, that schedule could be reduced to one flight per week.
- Delta had multiple daily flights from Green Bay, Wisconsin (GRB), to other cities, including Detroit (DTW), Minneapolis (MSP) and Atlanta (ATL). That service could be pared down to a single flight, at least five times weekly, between Green Bay and one of the other cities, such as Detroit. Delta could also choose to operate at least five flights weekly from GRB, and distribute them to among various destinations.
These guidelines are open for public comment through April 2, and have not yet been finalized. Once enacted, the rules will apply to any airline that seeks aid under the CARES Act, for either loans or grants.
In the weeds
The rule will consider regional service to fulfill the obligation of the marketing carrier. So, American Eagle flights will count toward American Airlines’ minimum service requirements, However, if SkyWest, for example, operates any non-cobranded flights, it will be responsible for maintaining its own minimum service on those routes if it accepts government aid.
Airlines will also be allowed to request exemptions from these guidelines if they determine that some cities do not warrant the minimum required service given current demand.
Charter and air taxi operators are exempted from these guidelines. All-cargo carriers are technically covered by the legislation, but the DOT has opted not to enforce minimum-service guidelines on cargo operations, citing a recent increase in demand for cargo capacity.
Once finalized, the guidelines will remain in place through Sept. 30.
Featured photo by Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.