United Airlines has cuts flights from its New York airports starting today (Sunday).

The cuts at both Newark Liberty International Airport and LaGuardia Airport see the airline reduce the number of flights at Newark Liberty International Airport from 139 flights per day to 15, and at LaGuardia, from 18 flights per day to two.

As part of the $50 billion given to the airline industry by the U.S Federal government, airlines must maintain a minimum level of service until at least September.

The changes were announced to United staff in a letter quoted by USA Today.

“As the situation in New York and New Jersey worsens, we are taking another major step at Newark and LaGuardia to help keep our employees safe and play our part in helping to mitigate the spread of the outbreak in the Tri-State area,” Greg Hart, United’s executive vice president and chief operations officer, said in the letter to employees.

“While New York and New Jersey are the primary Covid-19 hotspots today, we will also watch the situation on the ground in stations all across our network and evaluate additional mitigation measures we can take in those locations as well,” Mr Hart said.

Hart also said the following:”Importantly, whether you are on duty or not, we will maintain the pay and benefits of *all* local employees scheduled to work in those locations during this temporary reduction,” he wrote. “And we will be flexible in accommodating any employees who commute to either of these stations and ask our ground-based employees to remain on call for critical and immediate operational needs as they arise, like diversions and humanitarian flights.”

Hart added that United could potentially make similar moves at airports in future hotspots.