As air travel takes a dive in response to the coronavirus pandemic, several airlines are grounding new routes or existing flights from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Bryce Dubee, a spokesman for AUS, says the airport learned March 18 that Dutch airline KLM is postponing the May 4 launch of nonstop service from Austin to Amsterdam. In addition, all nonstop service to London and Frankfurt has been temporarily suspended. British Airways and Norwegian Air fly between AUS and London, and Lufthansa flies between AUS and Frankfurt.
British Airways is slashing its flight capacity by 75 percent. On March 16, Lufthansa said it was canceling 10 percent to 20 percent of its flights, and reducing employees’ work hours by about 70 percent.
It’s unclear whether the May 6 launch of Norwegian’s nonstop service between AUS and Paris will be delayed or even canceled. On March 16, Norwegian said it was canceling 85 percent of its flights and temporarily laying off 90 percent of its workforce.
Aside from those moves, a number of AUS carriers have made adjustments to domestic service.
American has pushed back the August 18 launch of nonstop service to Boston and San Jose, California, according to Dubee.
Allegiant said March 18 that it expects to reduce flight capacity by 30 percent to 35 percent, and likely even more. The release doesn’t indicate whether that would include the delay of four new nonstop routes from Austin:
- Des Moines, Iowa, scheduled to start May 21
- Asheville, North Carolina, scheduled to start May 22
- Grand Rapids, Michigan, scheduled to start May 22
- Knoxville, Tennessee, scheduled to start May 22
As of March 18, all four of those routes remained available for booking on the Allegiant website.
Spirit is set to begin nonstop service March 26 from AUS to Newark, New Jersey, and Nashville. A March 18 search of the Spirit website showed both routes were available for booking. An airline representative couldn’t be reached for comment.
On April 23, Frontier is scheduled to start nonstop service between Austin and Miami. However, a March 18 search on the Frontier website indicated the new route wasn’t available for booking. An airline representative couldn’t be reached for comment.
“Like all other airports, AUS is currently experiencing a significant decrease in passenger volumes, and we understand concerns surrounding travel at this time,” Dubee says. “We ask our passengers to utilize their best judgment when making decisions about whether or not to travel. Should they choose to, AUS is open, safe, and operating normally.”