DOT Denies Frontier Airlines A Network Waiver

The US Department of Transportation (DoT) has today rejected Frontier Airlines’ request to minimize its current network. Simultaneously,…

DOT Denies Frontier Airlines A Network Waiver

The US Department of Transportation (DoT) has today rejected Frontier Airlines’ request to minimize its current network. Simultaneously, it has granted Sun Country Airlines permission to stop flying to a major part of its domestic destinations. These requests have come after airlines have found it hard to make revenue on most of their flights. However, as a part of the US government’s relief fund, these airlines are required to fly to all of their destinations.

Frontier Airlines will have to operate to all of its destinations. Photo: Frontier Airlines

An overview

The United States government had last month announced that it would be providing US-based airlines special funding to help them survive the impact of the ongoing pandemic. The funding, also known as The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, will be provided to all airlines as long as they meet specific rules and guidelines. One of these guidelines requires airlines to fly to every domestic city that they flew to before the pandemic began.

Unfortunately, many of these airlines have found it hard to make money on most of their routes. As a result of this, they started consolidating their services to one or two major airports in every city. For example, JetBlue used to fly to 15 airports in the country’s five biggest metropolises. However, after its consolidation plans, flights to eight of these airports were suspended.

Despite possible alternatives, some airlines have found it hard to sustain every passenger route. Frontier Airlines had requested the US government to allow it to stop flying to 30 destinations across the US for the time being. Out of these, Frontier has been permitted to quit its services to just three: Boston, Charlotte, and Detroit.

On the other hand, Minneapolis-based Sun Country Airlines has received approval to suspend service to 15 domestic markets until June 21.

Sun Country Airlines
Sun Country has been allowed to minimize its current route network. Photo: Sun Country.

The reason

Although the decision seems quite biased against Frontier, The US Department of Transportation (DoT) has a practical reason behind it. It reasoned that smaller carriers like Sun Country should be granted relief from serving large hubs or focus city airports. Specifically, those that have abundant services by large operators and use these airports as connecting hubs.

More specifically, the DoT said it would grant relief for carriers with less than 10% of total domestic capacity from operating to large hub airports. Since Sun Country holds a negligible market share in the US airline industry, its allowances are understandable.

The other reason behind this ‘unfair’ treatment might have to do with the differing nature of these two airlines. Frontier operates leisure routes to primarily large-hub destinations, while Sky Country mainly flies to smaller cities with much lower demand. It is evident that as far as the current situation is concerned, there is almost no demand from non-major destinations.

Spirit Airbus Runway
Spirit has a very diverse network. Photo: Spirit Airlines

Recently other US carriers like Spirit and JetBlue had made similar requests. Most of these were rejected by DoT based on the same reasoning. For now, the United States government has to assess what is more important, an extensive airline network, or the safety of passengers.

Do you think these decisions are justified? Let us know in the comments.

Source : Simple Flying More   

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2000+ Icelandair Employees Laid Off Amid Current Crisis

Over 2,000 Icelandair employees will be laid off at the turn of the month. The flag carrier of…

2000+ Icelandair Employees Laid Off Amid Current Crisis

Over 2,000 Icelandair employees will be laid off at the turn of the month. The flag carrier of Iceland has had to make the tough call amid financial and operational struggles due to the global health crisis.

With travel restrictions forcing Icelandair to suspend most of its flights, the firm has had to make a critical decision on the future of its employees. Photo: Getty Images

Harsh climate

Like most airlines across the world, Icelandair has been forced ground most of its aircraft. Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið reports that due to the downturn in flight activity, the operator will focus on maintaining basic operations in all areas to ensure there it has the flexibility to respond quickly when markets reopen.

The airline is renegotiating with suppliers and financiers in a bid to help organize its finances during the quiet period. However, the firm’s highest costs are due to wages. Therefore, employees are up against it when it comes to the reshuffling.

Icelandair, Boeing 767, Heart Flight Path
The Nordic outfit is only conducting some essential flights at the request of its country’s government. Photo: Getty Images

Ongoing situation

Icelandair CEO Boga Nils Bogason isn’t happy about making these cuts. However, he states that even though the decisions are painful, they are unfortunately necessary.

“There is enormous uncertainty ahead and we need to prepare for limited activities at the company indefinitely. We hope that conditions in the world will improve as soon as possible and that we can offer the largest number of employees involved in work again,” Bogason said, as reported by Morgunblaðið

“The aim of these measures is also to ensure the company’s basic operations and maintain the necessary flexibility to be able to respond quickly when demand recovers.”

Icelandair 737 MAX
It’s not just the Boeing 737 MAX that remains on the ground for Icelandair. Photo: Getty Images

State backing

Today, Iceland Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir shared that Icelandair will be able to take advantage of new measures in place. Initiatives include an extension of the partial compensation scheme and support from the state treasury for salary payments. Additionally, Icelandair is receiving up to ISK100 million (US$710,000) to keep some vital services to destinations in the United States and Europe going.

Altogether, Icelandair isn’t the only airline that has had its staff laid off over the last month or so. Several firms have had to reorganize as they try to deal with the shortcomings of the global travel restrictions.

With the government supporting the carrier, staff will hopefully at least be able to be covered for part of their salary while the aviation crisis continues. Ideally, these employees will be back with the airline as soon as business picks up again.

Simple Flying reached out to Icelandair for comment on the layoffs but did not hear back before publication. We will update the article with any further announcements.

What are your thoughts on Icelandair laying off over 2,000 of its staff members? Have you been affected by any airline cuts this season? Let us know what you think of the situation in the comment section.

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