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United are adding some international flights for September, but remain cautious

A United Airlines plane is sitting on the tarmac at San Francisco International Airport.

Justin Sullivan Getty images

United Airlines said on Friday it plans to add a small number of flights in September, while remaining cautious as the coronavirus pandemic continues to reduce travel demand.

The capacity of the Chicago-based airline in September will be 37% from levels a year ago and a 4 percentage point increase over its August 2020 schedule.

United were among the most conservative airlines in terms of flight resumption. A jump in demand recovery has stalled as a result of coronavirus cases in the United States, and countries such as New York and New Jersey have issued quarantine orders for arriving passengers.

“We continue to be realistic in our approach to building our international and domestic schedules, closely monitoring customer demand and flying where people want to go,”

; said Patrick Quayle, vice president of international network and alliances.

International capacity, which is most affected by broad travel restrictions around the world, will be 30% of United’s schedule in September 2019, with the airline adding routes such as Chicago to Tel Aviv, Chicago to Hong Kong and Houston to Amsterdam.

The domestic flight will be 40% of its schedule for September 2019.

United said on Thursday it would consolidate its Embraer E145 flights, used for short routes, with only one regional partner, CommutAir, which is dropping out of ExpressJet.

“We have been communicating for several months that we expect to be a smaller airline in response to the unprecedented impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our business,” United said in a statement. “In February, we took our first step to simplify our partner landscape and strengthen our E145 flight. We continue to evaluate additional opportunities to improve the United Express product.”

United CEO Scott Kirby told CNBC earlier this month that he expects revenue to reach no more than half of 2019 levels without a coronavirus vaccine.

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