United Airlines to add Hawaii flights during pandemic

United Airlines Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft as seen on final approach landing at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands, on July 2, 2020, arriving from New York City. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

United Airlines has announced that it will increase flights next month as it resumes service on more than 25 international routes and begins gearing business toward leisure air traffic because of the pandemic.

The Chicago-based airline released a statement Friday saying the September schedule will resume destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean and increase service from the U.S. mainland to Kauai and Hilo, Hawaii, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

“We continue to be realistic in our approach to building back our international and domestic schedules by closely monitoring customer demand and flying where people want to go," said Patrick Quayle, vice president of international network and alliances.

The airline has also extended a waiver on change fees and has awarded travel redeposit fees for reservations through Aug. 31.

The announcement came as Democratic Gov. David Ige extended the 14-day quarantine regulations to all visitors through Sept. 1.

It also came after the Hawaii Tourism Authority reported more than 650 people traveled to the island Thursday, marking the highest number of visitors in one day in the last week. The 665 visitors were among 2,650 passengers that flew in on 31 flights despite the mandatory quarantine for out-of-state travelers.

The two-week quarantine is intended to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Hawaii.

As of Friday, the state health department has reported more than 2,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 26 deaths.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some -- especially older adults and people with existing health problems -- it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.