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European Airlines Cancel Flights to Italy
The United Kingdom flag carrier British Airways has decided to cancel all flights to and from Italy until at least April 4. This follows the decision by the Italian government to implement a country-wide lockdown, affecting all 60 million residents.
Italy has seen around 9,000 cases of the COVID-19 with around 450 deaths so far, the highest number of infections outside of China. A spokesperson for BA said: “In light of the Italian government’s announcement and the UK government’s official travel advice, we have contacted all customers who are due to travel today (10 March).”
British Airways has a key market share of flights between the U.K. and Italy, with around eight daily flights between Heathrow and Rome-Fiumicino alone. The airline also serves flights to Milan-Bergamo, Linate and Malpensa, Bologna, Brindisi, Florence, Naples, Palermo, Pisa, Turin, Venice and Verona from both its Heathrow and Gatwick bases.
Following the cancelations, the airline stated: “Any travelers due to fly to or from Italy between now and April 4 can rebook to a later date up until the end of May, move their destination to Geneva or Zurich or receive a full refund.”
Low-cost airline Wizz Air has also announced its decision to cancel all flights in and out of Italy, with affected passengers offered a free rebooking, full refund or a 120 percent refund of their original fare in airline credit for future bookings.
easyJet, which has around 30 aircraft based across three Italian bases, is expected to bring its operations to a halt following the government’s decision and the significant drop in passenger numbers. Milan-Malpensa is one of EasyJet’s largest bases within its European network with around 25 aircraft based there. The airline also has six aircraft in Venice and five in Naples.
Irish low-cost carrier Ryanair has also announced its decision to cancel all flights by Friday, March 13. From tomorrow onwards, all domestic routes within Italy will be canceled and international flights being canceled by Friday with the intention to return services from Thursday, April 9. The airline has aircraft based across 14 airports across the country.
“Ryanair apologizes sincerely to all customers for these schedule disruptions, which are caused by national government restrictions and the latest decision of the Italian government to lock down the entire country to combat the Covid-19 virus,” the airline said a statement.
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