The coronavirus is bringing even more pain to the nation’s hobbled airlines as American Airlines informed its New York-based flight crews they will be grounded for at least another month as the carrier slashes its June schedule.
“We’re announcing the difficult decision to extend temporary pause done by LGA-based [LaGuardia Airport] flight attendants. While we see a very slight increase to flights operating from our three airports, they will continue to be operated as ‘turn only’ – meaning no aircraft or crews will be scheduled to remain overnight,” AA officials said in a notice sent to flight attendants obtained by The Post.
The AA flight crews will continue to receive a base salary while grounded. But one veteran Queens flight attendant told The Post the money he makes in OT is what keeps him afloat and he will be unable able to pay his rent just on regular salary in high-cost New York.
“I have to work OT just to pay the bills. Not making OT is a major hardship,” said the flight attendant, adding that being grounded for so long is making him stir crazy.
The move comes as the airline slashes its domestic schedule for June by 70 percent compared to last year and makes even steeper cuts to its international service, operating just one in five flights scheduled the year before.
New York City’s three airports have been among the hardest hit by the cutbacks as the feds urge travelers to avoid the nation’s worst coronavirus hotspot.
As the memo to its local flight staff indicated, the situation is dreadful for AA’s NY-based service.
“American also made additional reductions in service to New York’s airports (LGA, JFK and EWR), which will be extended through June 4,” the statement said.
From May 6 through June 4, American will only operate up to 15 daily flights combined from all three New York-area airports.
American’s also slashing service by 85 percent at its Miami hub as the economic shutdown and government restrictions international travel have evaporated demand for flights to the Caribbean and Latin America.
The pandemic has delivered a beating to the airline industry, prompting Congress to include some $50 billion in aid for passenger carriers in the $2 trillion stimulus bill passed in March.
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