Seriously - why are US carriers still even flying around as much capacity as they are? States like TX and NM are now requiring arriving pax to quarantine for 14 days - and not just those from NY/NJ. It’s only a matter of time before every state is doing this, and the few folks traveling will dwindle even further. Not saying 100% of flying needs to be grounded - but why they even bother flying anything more than 5-10% or capacity is beyond me
I've speculated for awhile that the airlines are keeping flights to avoid refunding cash to people who already booked flights. With oil so low and pilots still getting paid regardless, if they cancel the flight they have to refund everyone who was booked on it in cash. If they operate it and everyone voluntarily decides to cancel they all get credit.
I think that you are correct.
They are flying to preserve cash, and avoid refunds, plus they are operating at the expense of their suppliers by increasing accounts payable, which is equivalent to a short-term loan.
Malicious, environmentally irresponsible, but effective in the short-term.
However, I don't see this lasting past April 15th, as for every passing day, there are less and less non-refundable advance bookings. They are trying to carry this forward by suggesting expanded use of interlining and using smaller aircraft but eventually it will stop making sense and become cheaper to refund than keep operating.
Also, at some point their suppliers and contractors are going to ask to pay their bills at the risk of suspension of service.