Airline options for flights to Hawaii are starting to narrow.

The Department of Transportation granted the requests of two airlines Saturday night that want to cut service to the islands because of dropping demand in light of the coronavirus and a mandatory quarantine for arriving passengers in Hawaii.

Hawaiian Airlines was granted permission to stop serving eight mainland cities. Separately, Alaska Airlines was told it can suspend service to airports on three of Hawaii’s four major islands. 

The two new actions, plus one involving a request on several U.S. destinations by Delta Air Lines, mark the latest decisions by the Department of Transportation on exemption requests by airlines participating in the $50 billion airline bailout. It’s part of the $2 trillion stimulus package passed to help businesses get through the coronavirus crisis.

As a condition of taking loans or grants under the bailout, airlines are required to provide what are deemed minimum service levels. That entails keeping flights to cities they have served in the past, even though the planes are flying with few passengers.

The DOT says that airlines receiving federal assistance that had offered a flight or more a day at least five days a week to a destination must be required to now provide at least one flight a day, five days per week. For service to airports that had been less than five days a week, the carrier would need fly there only one day a week.

Airlines are allowed to apply for exemptions from those minimum levels. Before Saturday, the DOT had ruled on JetBlue and Spirit, rejecting many of the requests by both when it comes to service to several cities. The latest ruling largely grants what those airlines wanted.

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Hawaiian, the DOT decided, can suspend service to New York, Boston, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Seattle, Sacramento and San Diego; and Portland, Oregon. It accepted the airlines’ argument that since Hawaii Gov. David Ige has imposed a 14-day quarantine period for anyone arriving from the mainland, few passengers will be willing to take flights.

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Those under quarantine are only allowed to leave their homes or hotel rooms to seek medical attention if they need it, a rule that upends tourism to Hawaii during the pandemic. Hawaiian’s application for a service exemption was backed by Ige and several mayors.

Michael Victorino, mayor of Maui County, Hawaii, wrote the Department of Transportation in support of Hawaiian Airlines’ request to suspend service to Kapalua Airport near Lahaina, a secondary airport serving Maui and two neighboring islands.

“My primary goal is protecting the health and safety of the citizens of the three islands,” Victorino wrote. “That means limiting the number of visitors to Hawaii until the health threat has passed and the restrictions placed on Hawaiian Airlines have been lifted.”

The DOT approved the request.

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Also because of the quarantine, the DOT said Alaska can stop flights to airports in Lihue on Kauai, Kahului on Maui and Kona on what locals call the “Big Island,” Hawaii. It also was allowed to suspend April and May service to Sun Valley, Idaho.

As for Delta, the DOT granted it permission to stop seasonal service to seven smaller destinations, approved it for a couple of others and deferred a decision on two as well.

Here’s the latest on airlines’ applications and DOT actions:

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American

American is asking for latitude in providing seasonal service to Anchorage, Alaska; Kalispell, Montana; Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. It wants to stop service to ski destinations, Vail, Aspen and Montrose, Colorado; and Kahului, Kona, and Lihue, Hawaii.

Delta

The DOT approved Delta’s request to stop service to Cody, Wyoming, until May 22; to Ketchikan, Sitka and Juneau, Alaska, through June 8 and Sept. 1-30; Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, Massachusetts through June 26 and Sept. 8-Sept. 30; and Cedar City, Utah, through July 18. It rejected an exemption for West Yellowstone, Montana, and deferred a decision on two destinations in the Virgin Islands.

United

United wants to stop flying to Green Bay, Wisconsin; Gunnison, Colorado; Ithaca, New York; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Valparaiso. Florida; and Santa Fe, New Mexico, saying it will reconsider a July 6 resumption of service. United is also asking for suspension of service to Hilo, Kona, Lihue, and Kahului, Hawaii, for the duration of the order, and to San Juan, Puerto Rico, until May 6 and to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands until July 6. It is also requesting postponement of the start seasonal service to Fairbanks, Alaska; Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and Sun Valley, Idaho, until July 6.   

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JetBlue

JetBlue was denied by the DOT to stop service to Albuquerque, New Mexico; Portland, Oregon; Bozeman, Montana; Reno, Nevada; and Dallas/Fort Worth; Sacramento; Houston; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Worcester, Massachusetts, and seasonal service to Palm Springs, California. It was granted permission to stop serving Aquadilla and Ponce, Puerto Rico. 

Alaska

The DOT granted Alaska’s exemption request to stop flights to Kona, Lihue and Kahului, Hawaii; and Sun Valley, Idaho, for April and May.

Allegiant

Allegiant has a long list of cities that it says it can no longer afford to serve regularly, It wants to stop flying to Alburquerque, New Mexico; Bellingham, Washington; El Paso, Texas; McAllen, Texas; Ogden, Utah and Palm Springs, California, through June 30.  In addition, it requests a halt to flights to Clarksburg, West Virginia; Dayton, Ohio; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Little Rock, Arkansas; Moline and Springfield, Illinois; Montrose, Colorado; Ogdensburg, New York; Owensboro, Kentucky; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Rochester, New York; St. Cloud, Minnesota; San Antonio; San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Tucson, Arizona, through Sept. 30.

Frontier

Through June 10, Frontier wants to temporarily stop serving Albany, Syracuse and Buffalo, New York; Billings and Bozeman, Montana; Bloomington, Illinois; Burlington, Vermont; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Charlotte and Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Detroit; El Paso, Tyler and Harlingen, Texas; Fargo, N.D.; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Spokane, Washington; Green Bay and Madison, Wisconsin; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina; Huntsville, Alabama; Wichita, Kansas; Jacksonville and West Palm Beach, Florida; Norfolk, Virginia; Pittsburgh; Palm Springs, California; Portland, Maine; Louisville, Kentucky; and Knoxville, Tennessee. 

Hawaiian

The DOT said Hawaiian can suspend service to New York, Boston, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Seattle, Sacramento and San Diego; and Portland, Oregon.

Sun Country

Sun Country is asking to suspend service from April 20 to June 15 to cities including Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Diego, California; Chicago; Newark, New Jersey; Denver; Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; Boston; San Antonio; Seattle; Honolulu; Philadelphia; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Washington, D.C.; St. Louis: Madison, Wisconsin and Anchorage, Alaska.

Spirit

The DOT denied Spirit’s request to stop serving these cities, which it argued is not “reasonable or practical” during the crisis: Asheville, North Carolina; Austin, Texas; Charleston, West Virginia; Charlotte Amalie and Christiansted, Virgin Islands; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Greensboro, North Carolina; Hartford, Connecticut; Indianapolis, Indiana; Jacksonville, Florida; Pittsburgh and Latrobe, Pennsylvania; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; New York City; Niagara Falls and Plattsburgh, New York; Richmond, Virginia; Raleigh/Durham; Sacramento; San Francisco, California. and Portland, Oregon. The DOT also gave its approval for Spirit to stop flying to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus travel: Hawaii flights options narrow due to quarantine



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