American Airlines has announced that it is ending its flights to London from key US hubs over the holiday season, as the pandemic causes weak demand even at the busiest travel time of the year.
Flights from New York, Chicago and Charlotte will be cut in December, the airline said on Sunday.
Passengers wishing to travel can instead use AA’s codeshare, British Airways.
The flights, 16 a week, used to be among the most profitable and popular international routes.
American will continue to operate cargo-only flights from Chicago and New York and London “until daily passenger service resumes in January,” a spokeswoman said in statement to CNBC.
London was the only destination affected.
“We’re constantly evaluating our network to match supply and demand and have been making regular schedule adjustments since March,” the spokeswoman said.
“In an effort to match low demand resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19), we continue to operate a reduced schedule.”
United next month will suspend flights to Munich from San Francisco and Newark as well as Chicago-Amsterdam flights, but isn’t planning to adjust its London Heathrow service, a spokesman said.
The carrier is also increasing Newark-to-Brussels service to five times a week, up from three weekly roundtrips.
“We continue to remain flexible and nimble with our schedules and will keep monitoring and reviewing customer demand and making necessary adjustments to our schedules in response,” said a United spokesman.
Delta has not commented on its plans.
Americans must quarantine for 14 days when travelling to the UK, as the US is still considered a “red country”, meaning the risk of catching the virus is considered high.
Europeans and Britons are currently banned from entering the United States unless they have citizenship, green cards or obtain a waiver.
Airlines have been urging officials on both sides of the Atlantic to replace travel restrictions with Covid-19 testing.
United has taken matters into its own hands, and is this week beginning a trial of a “Covid-free corridor” flight.
The airline has converted its United Club site near gate C93 in Newark airport into an onsite testing facility, with the intention of every passenger receiving their results before the flight takes off.
The first flight will land at Heathrow on Tuesday morning.
Airlines have been incredibly hard hit by the pandemic.
American Airlines announced last month that 19,000 more employees were to be made redundant or furloughed, meaning that their workforce will be down 40,000 people from the start of the year.
In January American was the world’s largest airline by capacity, with 4.8 million seats a week.
By June it had fallen to fourth place, with only 1.7 million seats. The top spot had been taken by Southwestern, with 2.4 million seats, followed by China Southern.