American Airlines plans to resume nonstop flights to London out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport by the end of October — the airline’s first trans-Atlantic long-haul flight to resume out of CLT since the coronavirus pandemic hit North Carolina in March.

The news comes amid thousands of layoffs for American Airlines employees. And a number of other major international flights out of CLT won’t be resumed until 2021, American spokesman Andrew Trull told the Observer.

American will resume operating flights from CLT to London Heathrow beginning Oct. 24. The flight will leave CLT three times a week, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, between Oct. 24 and March 27.

The airline expects to resume flights to Munich and Frankfurt, Germany, as well as to Madrid in March 2021 and flights to Dublin in May 2021.

Demand for flights to the U.K. will be impacted by U.S. and U.K. travel advisories, airline industry analyst Bob Mann told the Observer.

Right now, U.S. travelers to the U.K. would be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Mann said the London flight may see “very little passenger demand unless some magical improvement occurred, soon.”

AA.jpg
American Airlines will begin offering flights from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to London Heathrow Airport this month. Observer file photo

Major U.S. airlines have been hit hard by the novel coronavirus pandemic, as passenger demand dropped.

In August, just over 1 million people boarded flights leaving CLT, according to the airport. That’s down from over 2 million in August of last year. And international flights took the biggest hit compared to last years numbers.

Nearly 20,000 people boarded international flights out of CLT in August, a 88% decrease from last year’s total in August of 167,405, according to the airport.

In July, American announced thousands of employees would be laid off or temporarily furloughed starting in October, as employee protections from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act expired. In Mecklenburg, that included nearly 1,500 American Airlines employees and another 247 employees at American subsidiary PSA Airlines.

But Congress and the Trump administration were discussing the potential on Wednesday for a stand-alone bill for airline aid, The New York Times reported.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer

Hannah Smoot covers business in Charlotte, focusing on health care, aviation and sports business. She has been covering COVID-19 in North Carolina since March 2020. She previously covered money and power at The Rock Hill Herald in South Carolina and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.