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United Adds International Service, Mulls June Return to China

Airline reports schedule “bright spots” in May in the midst of coronavirus slowdown

May 3, 2020

Even as the COVID-19 lockdown continues, United Airlines is adding flights to its international schedule, with more coming later in the month. Beginning May 4, the carrier has launched daily service between Chicago and London, from New York/Newark to Amsterdam and between Washington Dulles and Frankfurt.

On May 18, the airline will reintroduce flights between Houston and Guatemala City, Guatemala; San Jose, Costa Rica; San Salvador, El Salvador; and Tegucigalpa, Honduras, provided these countries reopen.

In addition, Forbes is reporting the airline is tentatively considering resumption of four flights to Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai. According to the report, United said in an employee memo that it is planning to “pencil in four China routes in the June schedule” and that it will “continue to work out the feasibility of restarting passenger service to China.”

Currently, the Civil Aviation Authority of China is limiting the number of international flights coming in and out of China in order to limit the number of coronavirus cases imported into the country.

Currently United’s existing international service includes flights between Houston and Sao Paulo; New York/Newark and Frankfurt, London and Tel Aviv; and San Francisco and Sydney and Tokyo-Narita; Houston to Guadalajara, Leon, Mexico City and Monterrey in Mexico.

“There’s no sugar-coating things – COVID-19 continues to severely impact travel, and our overall capacity for May will be down over 90 percent year over year,” said Jake Cefolia, United’s senior vice president of Worldwide Sales, in a statement. “Despite this, our domestic network remains connected to nearly 100 percent of airports served prior to this health crisis.”

Seher Asaf contributed to this report