US low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways Corp has reportedly requested approval from the US Department of Transportation (DOT) to temporarily stop operating Chicago flights.

The permission is being sought as air travel demand is ‘near-zero’ due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The pandemic and restrictions on travel have severely impacted the global aviation industry.

The carrier plans to suspend flights to 16 US airports, including Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Dallas and Detroit through 30 September.

The Chicago Tribune reported that JetBlue has already reduced its six flights a day to four a week in Chicago.

Commenting on resuming of its flight services, JetBlue was quoted by the publication as saying that it plans to gradually reopen ‘as soon as it is both safe to do so and when even the slightest customer demand re-emerges’.

Earlier this month, the DOT approved JetBlue’s request to suspend service to two airports in Puerto Rico.

The carrier announced to temporarily consolidate operations in five major metropolitan areas in the US.

JetBlue recently made it mandatory for all its customers to wear a face mask while travelling.

In a separate development, US carrier Delta is also planning to suspend flights to nine airports, reported Reuters.

Spirit Airlines has also asked for approval to suspend flights to Charlotte, North Carolina, Denver, Minneapolis/St Paul, Seattle, Portland and Phoenix.