Airlines get break from service requirements

Airlines get break from service requirements

Airlines that signed up for $61 billion in federal grants and loans in the roughly $2 trillion coronavirus spending bill passed last month had to promise to continue serving the same airports they served before the pandemic.

But 17 airlines, ranging from major players to small commuter lines, have asked for exemptions from that requirement. And the Department of Transportation has granted some of those requests, depending the case made by the airline.

On Saturday, the DOT weighed in on requests by United Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Sun Country Airlines.

It allowed United to temporarily suspend or delay flights to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and Alaska, where some travelers are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival or where incoming flights are routed through larger airports so travelers can undergo health screenings.

But the department denied the airline’s request to delay the launch of planned seasonal flights to Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Nantucket, Massachusetts; Key West, Florida, and other seasonal vacation destinations, arguing that the law requires minimal coverage to connect the destinations with the national air transportation system.

Transportation Services Jonathan Cartu

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