United Airlines to reduce flights beginning March 30

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UNITED Airlines is temporarily reducing its flights for a month, Commonwealth Ports Authority Chairman Kimberlyn King-Hinds said on Friday.

She said United Airlines informed CPA that it will be suspending afternoon flights scheduled for Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday beginning March 30 through April 30.

But she added that United Airlines’ suspension of flights “is not unique to the CNMI as evidenced by suspension of flights worldwide as a result of the overall impact of Covid-19 on the travel industry.”

In an email, United Airlines said a “press release is currently being created to make [an] announcement to the media” regarding its flight schedules.

Rep. Joseph Leepan T. Guerrero shared with Variety United Airlines Chief Executive Officer Oscar Munoz’ form letter addressed to the airline’s frequent flyer members, assuring that passenger safety “remains our highest priority.”

In the letter with the heading, “Our response to the coronavirus outbreak,” Munoz stated: “We are in the business of serving people and in the midst of this coronavirus outbreak it’s important that we give you as much flexibility as possible when planning your next trip. But it’s also important that we give you as much information as possible about the procedures we follow to clean our aircraft and maintain a sanitary environment once we’re in the air.”

Munoz said United Airlines is “in daily contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, federal agencies and other global health organizations to share the most up-to-the-minute information to ensure the actions we’re taking are comprehensive and appropriate.”

He added, “Our team of in-house medical experts and industrial hygienists oversee our aircraft cleaning procedures to ensure they meet or exceed all CDC guidelines. Hard surfaces such as lavatories, tray tables, window shades and armrests are thoroughly wiped down with a high-grade disinfectant and multi-purpose cleaner. And when we are advised by the CDC of a person who has traveled on board and is potentially exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, that aircraft is taken out of service and sent through a full decontamination process that includes our standard cleaning procedures plus washing ceilings and overhead bins and scrubbing the interior.”

Munoz said United Airlines’ aircraft “are equipped with state-of-the-art circulation systems, similar to those found in hospitals, which use a high-efficiency…filter to circulate the air and remove more than 99% of airborne particles. We’re also adjusting our inflight service to limit person-to-person contamination. This includes handing beverages directly to customers instead of allowing customers to touch a tray and ensuring all flight attendants wear gloves during service.”

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