U.S. finalizes order allowing 15 passenger air carriers to suspend service to 75 airports

FILE PHOTO: Empty flight departure screens are seen as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, at New York’s JFK International Airport in New York, U.S., May 19, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Transportation Department said late Wednesday it granted final approval to 15 airlines to temporarily halt service to 75 U.S. airports because of a lack of demand stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

Airlines must maintain minimum service levels in order to receive government assistance but many petitioned to stop service to airports with low passenger demand.

Both United Airlines (UAL.O) and Delta Air Lines (DAL.N) won tentative approval to halt flights to 11 airports, while JetBlue Airways Corp (JBLU.O), Alaska Airlines (ALK.N) and Frontier Airlines were approved to stop flights to five airports each.

The department said all airports would continue to be served by at least one air carrier. Despite some objections to the tentative list made public May 22, the department did not make any changes on the airports the airlines will be able to stop serving.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Kim Coghill

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