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Southwest Airlines Suspends Int'l Flights, While American Airlines Extends Change Fee Waivers

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Last week Southwest Airlines began reducing the number of flights to some international airports, today the Dallas-based company announced they will cease operations to all their international destinations by March 22.

Airline ticket sales had already began to shrink and dropped further after government mandates resulted in restrictions on air travel due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Southwest officials said there was no higher priority than the safety of their customers, said that the decision to cancel the flights was made after close communication with health workers, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and government officials.

As it stands Southwest plans to resume normal operations to their international destinations on May 4.

American Airlines already suspended about 75% of its long-haul international flights through at least May 6, but Friday the Fort Worth-based company announced another waiver extension.

American is now waving change fees for customers who purchased tickets prior to March 1 for travel through May 31. There are no restrictions on what fares can get the waiver and customers have until December 31 to rebook travel for future flights.

As part of the offer customers are allowed to change their origin and destination cities. Travel must also commence on or before December 31 or one year from the original ticket issue date.

On Friday, Airports Council International – North America -- an organization representing local, regional and state governing bodies that own and operate commercial airports -- projected that U.S. airports will lose at least $13.9 billion this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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