United Airlines said on Wednesday that it plans to operate about three times as many flights in August as it did in June, increasing its traffic to the equivalent of about 40 percent of its August 2019 schedule.
Even as much of the West and South see a surge in new coronavirus cases, the airline said that it was responding to growing demand for domestic and international flights. In particular, United said it would increase service to vacation destinations such as Aspen, Colo., Bozeman, Mon., and Jackson Hole, Wyo. United will also restart service to Tahiti and add flights to Hawaii, the Caribbean and Mexico.
United’s move comes as some policymakers have criticized airlines for allowing their planes to fill up with vacationers and other travelers at a time when new coronavirus cases are regularly reaching new daily highs. The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, expressed “substantial disappointment” in American Airlines at a Senate hearing on Tuesday for allowing its flights to be fully booked.
The airlines have said they are taking extensive precautions to limit the spread of virus to passengers and employees.