When major airlines reached an agreement with the Treasury Department to accept government grants on Tuesday, the companies essentially agreed that the government will be involved in decision-making for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, the airlines are asking for exemptions from minimum service levels they are required to provide as a condition of their grants.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that aided airlines that had originally offered a flight or more a day at least five days a week now provide at least one flight a day, five days per week. Aided airlines that provided service less than five days a week will now need to serve only one day a week.
After reviewing the requests of each airline, the DOT began making its verdicts on Thursday.
According to USA Today, the DOT granted JetBlue's request to cut service to two of the 12 destinations. Both requests were approved for airports in Aguadilla and Ponce, Puerto Rico, as all arriving passengers to the country must first stop in San Juan for passenger screening.
While JetBlue's requests were approved, Spirit was denied its request to drop 25 destinations where it had already stopped service April 8. The DOT granted exemptions only for Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.
Other carriers such as American and Delta have also applied for exemptions, as planes are flying with so few passengers due to the current outbreak. The airlines believe that even with the current reductions of flights, the carries will still see steep losses in revenue.
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