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Airlines will have to meet these schedule requirements to get coronavirus aid

March 31, 2020
3 min read
Airlines will have to meet these schedule requirements to get coronavirus aid
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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.

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The basics

The guidelines, which are based on each airline's service pattern before March 1, fall under three broad categories:

  1. 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.
  2. Cities served with less than five flights per week would need to maintain at least one weekly flight.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Related: What the airline aid package means for travelers.

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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.

Read more: An in-depth analysis of the $50 billion aid package to airlines.

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 image by AFP via Getty Images

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It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

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  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
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  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
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  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
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