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It’s not a secret that the current pandemic has decimated the travel industry but the noises coming out of various airlines can often paint different pictures of what the future holds and how quickly things will get back to how they once were. We often hear executives and industry leaders telling us that the airline industry will be in the doldrums until at least 2023, but we’re also starting to hear airlines talking of expanding their schedules to offer up to 90% of the destinations they previously offered by September this year.
The two statements aren’t mutually exclusive, but the first statement definitely paints a bleaker picture than the second, so it can be hard for a lot of travelers (like me) to get a feel for how things are really looking in the aviation world.
Well, if you want to see how bad things still are (in the very near term) you only have to take a look at the latest international schedule Japan Airlines (JAL) has published for July:
- Under “normal” conditions, JAL operates 60 international routes during the summer season.
- For July 2020, all 60 routes are seeing flight reductions.
- For July 2020, The number of flights operating on JAL’s international routes is being reduced by between 79% and 100%.
- Out of a regular summer season schedule of 4,898 flights, JAL is cutting 4,540. That’s a reduction of 92.7%.
All of this is actually a slight improvement on June’s numbers but, in terms of impact, it ranks alongside the improvement a dime found on the sidewalk would make to most people’s bank balances.
Unsurprisingly, things will vary from region to region and from airline to airline so the conditions that JAL is facing will not necessarily be the same as the conditions faced by airlines elsewhere. Still, at a time when a lot of people are starting to appear to think that we’re over the worst of the current crisis and that we’re on our way to recovery, it’s quite sobering to see a major airline like JAL continuing to slash flights as dramatically as this deep into its most profitable season.