U.S. airlines and the Department of Transportation may soon have to consider consolidating service to dozens of cities around the country in a bid to help carriers cut losses, several airline industry executives told CNBC.
Executives with U.S. airlines are discussing whether to push leaders of the Transportation Department to allow temporary modifications to their service routes as the carriers continue to make adjustments to their operations following approval of a $50 billion bailout package.
The aid package requires airlines to not furlough employees for the next six months, while also maintaining service, to the best of their ability, to the cities the airlines currently serve. The problem with maintaining service is that many planes are virtually empty.
“Does it make sense for more than one of us to be flying to a city when there are only a few seats filled on each plane”? one airline executive asked rhetorically in a conversation discussing the situation with CNBC. “It may…