United Airlines announced Wednesday it will add almost 25,000 flights next month, as the industry continues to deal with depressed demand for air travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
United said its August schedule will be three times larger than it was in June. Even with the additions, however, United will be operating just 40 percent of the schedule it flew in August 2019.
“We’re taking the same data-driven, realistic approach to growing our schedule as we did in drawing it down at the start of the pandemic,” Ankit Gupta, United vice president of domestic network planning, said in a statement. “Demand is coming back slowly and we’re building in enough capacity to stay ahead of the number of people traveling.”
The carrier said it will add more than 600 daily flights to 200 U.S. airports, and operate 25 percent of its normal international schedule. For July, it’s flying just 16 percent of its international routes. RELATED American Airlines says it will fill flights to capacity July 1
“United’s international schedule continues to be guided by customer demand as we add back capacity in regions with relative strength,” added Patrick Quayle, United vice president of international network and alliances. “For August, we’ve seen increasing demand for leisure travel and have added options to places like Cancun (Mexico) and reinstated service to Tahiti.”
It’s not yet known when United, or any U.S. carrier, will be allowed to resume flights to the European Union. The 27-member bloc reopened external borders on Wednesday to travelers from more than a dozen nations. The United States is still on the travel blacklist because it hasn’t met specific COVID-19 mitigation criteria.
The EU is resuming entry for travelers from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Algeria, Georgia, Montenegro, Morocco, Rwanda, Serbia, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.