Delta and American Airlines, two regional airlines that fly for United, have announced that they will be halting operations in the next few weeks due to continued repercussions of the coronavirus.
Compass Airlines, flying Delta Connection operations, and Trans States Airlines who operates for United Express will both stop their supporting flights from April 1.
This could be the first of many airline closures as the Regional Airline Association predicts that more suspensions will be issued and the airline bailout bill will not be able to aid small carriers “and the sector could be wiped out by the crisis”.
Delta utilises smaller jets to small and mid-size cities such as Bakersfield, California, State College, Pennsylvania, and Battle Creek, Michigan. Additionally, cities such as Tallahassee, Florida and Eugene, Oregon get almost all their service from regional carriers.
Compass Airlines, who was operating for Delta, has experienced a major capacity reduction “without the ability to fly even minimally viable schedules,” commented Trans States spokesperson, Cartiay McCoy. The COVID-19 pandemic as led to a reduction to air travel which has only increased the issues for regional carriers and airlines.
Regional airlines served 159 million passengers in 2019 on more than 10,000 daily flights which equals to about 40% of the total of US flights. Faye Malarkey Black, CEO of the Regional Airline Association commented, “When there’s a downturn, the smaller communities are the ones that lose service first.”