European airlines massively cut flights due to coronavirus

Norwegian Air cancels 3,000 flights March-June over coronavirus

By: AFP      Published: 05:58 PM, 10 Mar, 2020
European airlines massively cut flights due to coronavirus

Low-cost airline Norwegian Air Shuttle said Tuesday it would cancel "approximately 3,000 flights" mid-March to mid-June representing 15 percent of the airline's capacity for the period as the coronavirus outbreak hits travel.

"The past week, Norwegian has experienced reduced demand on future bookings. The company will cancel about 3,000 flights to meet the change in demand. The cancellations represent approximately 15 percent of the total capacity for the period mid-March to mid-June," the company said in a statement, adding that the cancellations would affect the airline's entire network.

BA axes Italy flights

British Airways said it has cancelled its flights to Italy on Tuesday after the country implemented a lockdown to control the deadly coronavirus epidemic.

Asked by AFP to confirm reports that it had axed all of its Italy flights for Tuesday, a BA spokeswoman replied: "Yes, today we have."

BA added in a statement that it had "contacted all customers who are due to travel today".

The company, which is owned by London-listed International Airlines Group, said passengers could rebook flights scheduled up to April 4.

The Italian government has imposed unprecedented nationwide restrictions on its 60 million people as it desperately attempts to halt the progress of the fatal COVID-19 disease.

Air France-KLM warns of worse

Air-France KLM warned Tuesday the coronavirus outbreak will hit its business harder in coming months after February passenger numbers fell 0.5 percent overall as flights to China were cut.

The slowdown in February "essentially reflects the cancellation of all our China flights and the initial impact of COVID-19 in Asia," the group said in a statement.

"The coming months will be much more seriously impacted by the spread of COVID-19 to other regions and wider cuts in capacity," it added.

Air France has so far suspended flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei while reducing services to Seoul and Singapore, all key destinations.

Flights to Italy, which has become the second most affected country after China, have also been slashed while European services have been cut 25 percent.

Overall, passengers carried on Asian flights in February were down 24.5 percent but North America was up 13.7 percent, Latin America gained 6.0 percent, Africa/Middle East rose 8.7 percent and the Caribbean/Indian Ocean 1.8 percent.

Last month, Air France-KLM put the coronavirus cost to the airline at 150-200 million euros up to April.