Delta suspending flights to 10 airports in New York, Los Angeles and other metro areas

May 8, 2020

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Delta Air Lines will stop flying to 10 secondary airports in New York, Los Angeles and five other large metropolitan areas next week as part of its latest coronavirus pandemic network cuts.

The Atlanta-based SkyTeam Alliance carrier will consolidate flights to seven large airports on its map across the U.S. on May 13 through at least September, Delta said Friday. The move is allowed under the air service rules on the federal coronavirus aid package, which is known as the CARES Act.

Delta will consolidate flights to the following airports:

  • Boston Logan (BOS): suspending Manchester, New Hampshire (MHT) and Providence (PVD)
  • Chicago O’Hare (ORD): suspending Chicago Midway (MDW)
  • Cleveland (CLE): suspending Akron/Canton (CAK)
  • Los Angeles (LAX): suspending Burbank (BUR) and Long Beach (LGB)
  • New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) and LaGuardia (LGA): suspending Newburgh Stewart (SWF) and White Plains (HPN)
  • Norfolk (ORF): suspending Newport News/Williamsburg, Virginia (PHF)
  • San Francisco (SFO): suspending Oakland (OAK)

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Routes from the 10 airports Delta will suspend service to on May 13. (Image by Cirium)
Routes from the 10 airports Delta will suspend service to on May 13. (Image by Cirium)


Delta joins Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue Airways availing itself of flexibility to consolidate air service to a single airport in multi-airport regions. Under the CARES Act guidelines, airlines that take payroll assistance must maintain minimal air service to all the U.S. cities they served prior to the pandemic. However, they can consolidate flights in multi-airport regions or seek a waiver to suspend flights elsewhere.

The rules have come under fire in recent days. With every major U.S. airline taking aid, many flights are operating nearly empty raising concerns of unnecessary expenses as well as carbon emissions. Data from trade group Airlines for America (A4A) shows an average of just 23 people onboard flights in the U.S. during the week ending May 5.

“It is causing an awful lot of planes to be flown with one passenger, five passengers, [and] that does not help with any liquidity in the long run,” A4A president and CEO Nicholas Calio told the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on May 6. “We shouldn’t be flying airplanes that are empty.”

Related: Airlines flew empty flights to get coronavirus aid; now they’re asking Congress for help

The trade group, as well as some airline unions, are pushing the DOT to temporarily allow airlines to collaborate on air service to some smaller cities. For example, Delta could continue flying to a city like Savannah (SAV) with American Airlines and United Airlines suspending service and booking passengers onto Delta’s flights.

Delta’s plans to suspend flights to the 10 small airports will not impact many travelers. The airline only planned to operate an average of 1.5 departures from the the airports to its Atlanta (ATL), Detroit (DTW) and Salt Lake City (SLC) hubs in May, according to Cirium schedule data.

The carrier is allowing travelers to rebook or cancel their flights with no fees during the pandemic.

Delta has cut system capacity by 85% year-over-year during the three months ending in June.

Related: Major airlines’ coronavirus change and cancellation policies

Featured image by Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

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