Americans abroad are struggling to return home as different country's travel bans limit or completely cut commercial flights. Some Americans stuck abroad say the State Department's response has been inadequate.
Aviation writer Lonnie Bowlin writes that the closures of some air traffic control towers in relation to the coronavirus pandemic illustrate the resiliency of the air traffic control system. Dual redundancy means that the overall efficiency and safety of the ATC system has remained robust even as some towers have had to close, Bowlin says.
Powell Municipal Airport in Wyoming plans to use federal funding to extend a taxiway so that pilots will no longer need to turn around at the end of the runway and line up before taking off. The $1.25 million construction project will improve safety, as the current setup requires departing pilots to let arriving pilots know they are waiting on the runway, but sometimes an announcement is missed or an older plane has a hand-held radio with insufficient range.
How do you put a flying life back together after a tornado destroys the airport where you earn a living and a viral pandemic breaks out just as folks are getting back on their feet? AOPA Online.
Airlines continue to slash their flight schedules, with United, Southwest and Alaska airlines announcing further cutbacks. In an internal note to Alaska employees, CEO Brad Tilden wrote, "It is imperative that we act now and act boldly to reduce our cash burn rate, extend our longevity, and ensure that we're here to continue serving people in the future."
Airlines for America President and CEO Nicholas Calio today said, "On behalf of 750,000 US airline employees and our nation's airlines, we applaud the Trump administration and the US Congress for reaching agreement on bipartisan legislation intended to assist the US airline industry in continuing to make payroll and protect the jobs of hardworking men and women despite devastating impacts to the industry in recent weeks." Read more.
American Airlines will operate seven flights from Brazil and three cities in Honduras specifically to bring stranded Americans home. "American continues to take care of customers during this uncertain time as government-imposed travel restrictions continue to develop," the company says.
United Airlines' new brand logo and social media message, United Together, aims to emphasize solidarity with employees and customers during the coronavirus crises. "True to our United name, we're in this together," the airline said on Twitter.
Air Canada has begun cargo-only flights, carrying medical supplies and other time-sensitive freight to Europe. The airline has future plans for cargo-only flights to Latin America and South America, and it is considering offering the service domestically.