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Airline Flights Into And Out Of New York City Cut Drastically Because Of Coronavirus

An empty corridor at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York last month. Social distancing to slow the spread of the coronavirus leaves little demand for flights.
Image credit: Kena Betancur

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Airports around the world are a lot quieter these days, with hardly anyone flying because of travel restrictions to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

And some of the nation’s busiest airports are about to get even quieter, as airlines slash service this week into and out of the three major New York City area airports.

American Airlines announced that as of Tuesday, April 7, it will reduce the number of departures from LaGuardia, JFK and Newark to just 13 a day. That’s down from a average of 270 flights a day last April. Eight of those flights will be from LaGuardia, and three each from JFK and Newark.

According to airline industry observers, for the first time since the 1940’s, American will not have a nonstop flight from New York City to Los Angeles.

United Airlines is cutting the number of flights into and out of the region to 17 a day, 15 of those from its hub at Newark, and just 2 from LaGuardia (United doesn’t fly from JFK).

JetBlue, which has a hub at JFK, has eliminated 80% of its flights there. Spirit has suspended all service to and from the NYC area.

Delta will have the busiest flight schedule with 51 daily departures from the three airports; 29 from JFK,15 from LaGuardia and 7 from Newark.

The airlines say the reduction in flights is due to a combination of the high number of coronavirus cases in the New York metro area, an effort to minimize employees’ potential exposure to the virus and the sharp reduction in demand.

American spokesperson Ross Feinstein said in a tweet that the airline’s busiest flight out of LaGuardia Sunday “only had 27 passengers (on a 737-800 with 172 seats). Let’s just say that flight boarded quickly. But not as quickly as the nine flights from JFK/LGA with one passenger on each.”

Most of the service cuts are in effect until early May.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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