Southwest Airlines announced that the airline will cancel 1,500 daily flights starting March 27, which is an increase from airline said several days prior as demand for air travel continues to plummet.
Southwest Airlines Co. flies about 4,000 flights on a normal day. The cancellations represent nearly 40 percent of the airline’s daily service.
“We’ll implement the cancellations on a rolling, multiple-day basis to provide customers with advance notice of changes and alternate flight options,” a Southwest spokesperson said in a statement.
Southwest Airlines is the second largest carrier at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport behind American Airlines.
In addition to the recent cancellation increase, the airline is looking at adjusting its Hawaii service.
Considered alterations to Southwest’s Hawaii schedule shows how quickly circumstances are changing for airlines as they manage the new industry realities of the COVID-19 impact. Southwest President Tom Nealon told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser earlier this month the carrier’s Hawaii flights would be immune to schedule cuts.
Over the weekend, Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced that people coming to Hawaii, both residents and visitors, will be ordered to stay in a 14-day period of self-quarantine starting March 26.
“Southwest is preparing to revise our near-term flight schedule of Hawaii service and is working through new protocols for our employees and our customers arriving in Hawaii after this new order takes effect,” Cetta Larabee, director of Inflight Crew Scheduling and Crew Ops Support, said in the memo. “These arrival protocols and procedures are not finalized yet, and we will share more as soon as we can.”
Larabee added, “The company considers flights between the islands essential to Hawaii residents looking to travel from one island to another. Demand will wane for those flights, too,” she said, adding that more information is to come.