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Airlines start canceling more flights from Europe as new restrictions go into effect

Frederic Lardinois

With the White House's surprise decision to bar foreign nationals from Europe from entering the United States, the already battered airline industry is facing yet another challenge. Unsurprisingly, we are now seeing even more cancellations across the industry as even U.S. citizen and legal permanent residents can now only enter the United States through 11 CDC-approved airports.

The approved airports are Atlanta (ATL), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW), Detroit (DTW), Newark (EWR), Honolulu (HNL), New York-JFK (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), Chicago-O’Hare (ORD), Seattle (SEA), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington-Dulles (IAD). All of these are major hub airports that also currently certified to handle flights from China, but in recent years, a lot of airlines added direct international flights from smaller fields, as well.

As Delta announced today, it'll temporarily cancel flights between cities like Amsterdam and Orlando, Portland and Salt Lake City, for example, as well as flights to Paris from Cincinnati, Raleigh/Durham and Indianapolis. These flights will still operate from the U.S. on Thursday and then return one last time on Friday.

American Airlines tells me it is still working through this "evolving situation," but it'll surely be forced to make similar cuts as it also operates European flights to airports that are not on the CDC's list (Update: here are AA's cuts). Lufthansa and others are also in the process of canceling their flight schedules to smaller airports. Even before this announcement, Lufthansa alone canceled 23,000 flights.

Update: here is a statement from United.

We are reviewing our flight and crew schedules to comply with the administration’s travel restrictions. We currently have change fee waivers in place for any customers traveling domestically and internationally through April 30.  For those trying to get home from Europe, we have capped fares between the U.S. and Europe. Importantly, we will continue to fly our regular schedule from Europe to the U.S. through March 19.  After that, we expect to fly daily to Zurich, Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam, Manchester and Edinburgh, maintain multiple flights to Frankfurt and Munich, and operate 18 daily flights to and from London, three to Dublin and less than daily service to Lisbon, all while continuing to monitor demand.  As always, we will continue to provide our customers and employees with the very latest information as it develops.