Eugene flights to Chicago to be temporarily suspended

United Airlines is cutting systemwide capacity by 10 percent as demand for air travel drops amid coronavirus concerns.

Posted: Mar 5, 2020 11:02 AM
Updated: Mar 10, 2020 4:14 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- United Airlines says it will temporarily suspend nonstop service between Eugene and Chicago as part of cuts across its entire system.

The airline says the cuts are necessary because of a sharp drop in passengers due to coronavirus worries.

RELATED: DIRECT FLIGHTS TO CHICAGO BEGIN AT EUGENE AIRPORT

Officials at Eugene airport say they were informed of United's decision on Thursday morning, but details such as when the suspension will begin will be announced on Saturday.

United Airlines announced a 20 percent cut in overseas flights and a 10 percent reduction in domestic flights Wednesday.

According to the International Air Transport Association, airlines stand to lose $113 billion in sales globally if the coronavirus continues to spread, largely due to travel restrictions and decreased demand.

KEZI 9 News spoke to travelers at the Eugene airport who said they weren't letting coronavirus impact their travel plans.

"Globally it is a big deal. But I don't think it's something that we should stop living because of," said Kathie Reviglio, who flew into Eugene Thursday. "I could be in the grocery store and get exposed, so I'm not going to stop what I do on a regular basis."

Carol Seeley is a nurse from Boise who believes most travelers shouldn't need to interrupt their plans if they take some basic precautions. 

"Try to live without so much fear. Because could this or that be the disease of the week or the scare of the week? If I'm just mindful of what I do and wash my hands, that's the primary defense," Seeley said.

Andrew Martz, a spokesman for the airport, said the flights to Chicago have been very popular. Indeed, he said United plans to upgrade the flight to "mainline" service in June.

The current aircraft between Eugene and Chicago is an Embraer RJ-175 which seats around 80 passengers. Under mainline service it will be an Airbus 320 which can seat up to 186 passengers.

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